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Easing into exercise best way to avoid injuries

August 23, 2011
By STACEY KUKKONEN , Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Sometimes it's the "tire" around the belly.

It can also be the thighs or arms. But whatever the problem area may be, there's no better way to start an exercise routine than easing into one.

Emily Johnson, a personal trainer at the Portage Health Fitness Center along Sharon Avenue in Houghton, said she works with clients interested in personalized workouts and exercise classes.

When clients come see her, she helps ease them into an exercise routine, which is the best way to avoid injury and see results.

"You should always develop a goal and see where you want to go," she said.

Depending on the goal, (plans) are set for how the exercise routine will be conducted, she said.

The key is to ease into an exercise routine slowly. Starting with a warm-up is vital, Johnson said, to increase the heart rate for a smooth transition into exercise.

"You should get a doctor's note to be sure you're clear to exercise," she said.

Depending on fitness level, it's a good idea to start with 15 to 20 minutes worth of exercise three days a week and then gradually increasing from there. After a week or two, Johnson suggested adding another 10 minutes to exercise.

"Whatever you are able to do in the beginning is where you should start," she said. "Each week, you add a little more time."

The goal is to increase to 120 minutes of physical activity a week, or even 30 minutes a day for five days a week of cardiovascular exercise for basic fitness, she said. After the body becomes more acquainted with a daily exercise routine, around the first week or two, Johnson said it's a good idea to introduce strength exercises, such as lifting weights to benefit muscle groups in the body.

"Start with one set of 10 repetitions and move up to two sets and three sets as the weeks go on," she said.

"It depends on the goal."

Each routine will be different for every person depending on lifestyle, she said. For those who are already fit and are looking to train for an event would choose a different exercise routine than someone who lives a mostly sedentary lifestyle.

"To avoid injury, you want to start slow in the beginning," Johnson said. "For people who don't know how to get started, I would suggest seeing a professional to get an appropriate exercise regimen."

Johnson said the best way to ease into an exercise routine following a warm-up, is to walk. Starting with 15 to 30 minutes of walking a few days a week is a good place to start, she said, then bumping the routine up to 30 minutes five times a week.

"Eventually, you can either walk more mileage or you can walk at a higher intensity for just a half an hour," she said.

Typically, by easing into exercise, results will be seen between six to eight weeks, she said. On a weight loss program, a person will need to consider lifestyle changes including the diet. Although it takes a while to see results, Johnson said it's important to stay motivated by pushing to the next level and by not giving up.

"It's a marathon, not a sprint," she said. "Fitness is not going to come in a day."



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