In her eight years as an exercise physiologist at the hospital’s Cardiac Rehab, Allison Dominiecki has seen many scared, unhealthy patients go from an out-of-shape beginning to becoming a model of fitness. “There are so many wonderful patients,” says Dominiecki. “They sometimes come here scared, with no confidence, or timid to be in a group setting. I see how hard they work and the confidence they put in us, it’s just amazing to see.”
- Consult a physician before starting an exercise program to make sure you are tested for the presence of any pre-existing conditions, and to ensure your heart is healthy enough for exercise. Once you are ready, The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week.
- Set realistic goals. Have a big goal in mind, but break that down into smaller, easier steps.
- Find something that appeals to you. When you enjoy your exercise, you will stick with it. It’s also a great idea to involve your family, especially children, who can begin a lifetime of healthy behaviors now.
- Variety is the spice of life. Just as you do not want to eat the same meal every day, make sure you vary your exercise to keep you from getting bored. “You can try a spin class and end up loving it, like I did,” says Dominiecki, who also urges trying stretching, resistance training, aerobics, water aerobics and swimming. Don’t forget strength training, she says, which can help improve muscle tone and strength. It also helps shape and tone the body and burns calories.
- “Remember that it’s never too late to start. We have several patients in their 90’s,” says Dominiecki. “And do not become discouraged, just keep going!”