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Basic Exercise Tips

Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. The following are basic suggestions for those who have been approved to do exercise and are under the supervision of a doctor or physical therapy professional. This is not intended as medical advice.

  • Start slowly, even if you think it is less than you are able to do. If you have not exercised in a while you need to give your body a chance to get used to it again. Don't overdo it on the first day. A muscle that may not hurt today might tell you overdid it tomorrow! In some programs exercise time is increased by one minute each session (under the direction of a physical therapist and an exercise physiologist) unless a person is able to do more.
  • Begin with a three-minute warm-up. This means go slowly, not uphill, for the first three minutes. Don't go full out on cold muscles.
  • Do cool down stretches as directed by a physical therapist. Feel just a gentle pull. Don't bounce!
  • Let's say you are able to walk for 10 minutes straight and you want to walk outside. If this is the case you should walk for 5 minutes and then head back. Check out your walking route ahead of time (in the car) to see if there are any places to sit down or lean on if you need to take a break. Don't get stuck out there with no breath left!
  • If okay with your doctor or physical therapist, add some kind of weight or resistance training to your routine. Even soup cans or bottled water can make a difference in increasing your strength.
  • Don't exercise on an empty stomach. Have a light meal or a snack before you work out. Carbohydrates and protein work well. If it is approved for your diet, peanut butter or cheese on crackers or a peanut butter sandwich is good. Add some fresh fruit and 8 ounces of water and you're ready to go!
  • If possible, exercise in a group or with a buddy. It will keep you motivated, be more fun, and help will be there if you need it. If you have to exercise alone inside, keep it interesting! Do it where you can look out a window, watch TV or listen to music. If you must walk outside alone, walk in the daylight and carry a cell phone.
  • Check to see if you qualify to participate in pulmonary rehab. If you are short of breath and don't think you are able to exercise, you might be surprised at how much you can do. Pulmonary rehab is a great way to learn safe and appropriate exercise and learn tips to keep you breathing easier.


Copyright © 2006. Jane M. Martin, BA, CRT

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