Exercise safely, be stronger, live better

The benefits of exercise far outweigh any risk of injury, and you most certainly do not have to go to “pain to feel the gain.” 

The World Health Organization advises that adults should engage in aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, running, aerobic dance, anything that gets you breathing hard) most if not every day for at least 30 minutes.

They also advise that adults should engage in resistance workouts such as weight training or using resistance bands at the very least two sessions a week. 

What you can expect from setting up a consistent regular exercise program is better overall health, better numbers at your annual checkup, better sleep, more energy, optimization of your lean body fat/lean body mass ratio, better balance, endurance, strength, power, flexibility and a better emotional balance as well.

If you have never exercised before, seek out expert advice to get yourself started. It is worth the time, effort and money that you spend on your health, because being sick, frail, unsteady and fat cost you far more in the long run.

Here are some sensible things to think about when you start. Begin slowly, with lower intensity exercises.

Wait for a couple of hours after eating a large meal before engaging in strenuous exercise, but on the other hand don’t show up for your exercise session or class without any fuel in your system.

Wear appropriate clothes for your chosen activity — loose, comfortable clothes that wick sweat away, (natural fibers) and well fitted shoes that are closed in at the toe.  Always warm up before doing any activity. This doesn’t mean stretch … That is old school. You should warm up by doing a range of motion exercises that mimic whatever you’re going to focus on, but just go through the motions with no resistance.

Also make sure that when you finish your main training that you cool down. Here’s where you can put in your long, slow, deep stretches. 

Stretches should be held for a minimum of 20 seconds and should be static, not ballistic or dynamic. This is so that you actually increase your flexibility and also to give your heart a chance to slow down to normal.

Make sure that you stay hydrated. You should drink before, during and after exercise, especially if you tend to sweat a lot. Water is the substrate of all chemical reactions in your body. You need copious amounts of water every day. Here’s the formula. Take your weight in pounds and divide by two, that’s the minimum amount of ounces of water you need each and every day. Most people are living their lives chronically dehydrated. Water gives you more energy and better health. 

You must drink to replace water lost in sweat during exercise. Obviously, when exercising pay attention to your surroundings for possible dangers such as uneven walking surfaces or dangerous water or traffic conditions.

The benefits of consistent exercise are plentiful and the results are visible, emotional and physical. If you experience immediate discomfort while exercising — stop! Pain is a sign that something is wrong, so don’t work through it. Stop.

Consult with your healthcare provider about starting an exercise program and then get a certified personal trainer who is educated and experienced or join a class with a knowledgeable and alert instructor. 

There are many options on Kauai and we are lucky that we can exercise all year long without seasonal interruptions that make it more difficult to be consistent. Aloha nui loa.


Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.


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