Home LIFESTYLE Start out small when you’re ready to return to exercise

Start out small when you’re ready to return to exercise

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Cheryl Schweizer
Columbia Basin Herald, Moses Lake, Wash.

MOSES LAKE — No question it was a long winter and a long year, with a pandemic and being urged to stay home and things shut down.

But things are starting to open up, the days are longer; the weather is warming up. It’s tempting to get out there and just do a few things. Get out there and get a little exercise.

That’s a good kind of temptation, although it’s a good idea to start slowly if it’s been a while.

Exercise can be surprisingly simple, especially on a nice spring day.

“Go for a walk,” said Dale Kemper, manager at Evolve Fitness in Moses Lake.

A 10-mile hike isn’t required; in fact, it’s better to start small, according to the Premera Blue Cross blog. An hour at the gym five days a week might seem like a lot, maybe too much, but a 10- to 15-minute walk is more doable.

In fact, people don’t even have to go outside to get in a little exercise, Kemper said. A step routine and a few stretches don’t need a lot of space.

“You can just get moving. In your house, in your living room, watching your favorite show,” Kemper said.

It’s easier to start with an end goal in mind.

Some people want more energy, or to help them stay healthy for the long term. Others are trying to address current health issues, or to gain confidence.

Kemper cited such a case — one of his gym customers, a senior citizen who wanted to be able to get up off the ground if she fell.

The Blue Cross blog suggested writing down goals and keeping them visible. Writing down a training plan also helps people stay with it.

A workout buddy helps keep people accountable. The Blue Cross blog also suggested adding time for exercise to weekly schedules.

If scheduling is too much work, an alternative is to look during any day for for little ways to get in a little exercise. Maybe take the stairs or park at the back of the parking lot, or take the dog for a walk.

Walking is a good place to start, then people can build from there. Kemper said people should think of exercise as “a spectrum.”

The cardiovascular benefits walking provides are part of the equation, but only part. People also need exercise that maximizes strength and endurance, and range of motion, Kemper said.

“I would add balance to your training,” he said.

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