Frequently Asked Questions

I haven't exercised in years. is it safe for me to start now?

If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it’s important to start out at a low level of intensity and increase gradually. This will help avoid any problems and allow you to become more experienced with exercise before starting a vigorous program. Always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

I have a health condition. is it safe for me to exercise? 

Exercise is not only safe but beneficial to most health conditions. You should discuss your exercise and nutritional plan with your doctor to ensure your safety.

I have heard many stories of exercising causing injury, isn’t it safer for me to be sedentary?

Regular physical activity is very important our health and ability to do the things we enjoy. Studies have shown living a sedentary life is not only unhealthy but also unsafe. A sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk for an array of illnesses, more doctor visits, and decreases your balance, and increases your chance of falling. By ensuring you start your exercise program at a low level of intensity and slowly progress, exercising is safer than being sedentary.

Is it true that a low level of aerobic fitness is associated with a shorter life span?

Yes, confirmation for such a conclusion comes from research conducted at the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas. The researchers emphasized that the fitness level associated with the lowest mortality rate could be easily achieved by most adults if they simply walked briskly for 30 minutes or more every day.

My doctor says I am healthy. Why do I need to exercise?

Exercise is preventive. Research has shown exercise to not only maintain your current level of health but also improve it. Think 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road.

I stick to a very healthy diet and am an ideal weight, but do not exercise. Should I?

Eating healthy is only part of the battle when conquering a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity is important not only to the physical aspects of health but also the mental ones. Being physically active keep you strong and fit enough to stay independent as you age.

I have tried to exercise in the past but lacked the motivation to stick with it. What can I do?

Choose enjoyable activities that fit into your schedule. Ensure these activities are ones you will benefit from so you will see and feel results to keep you motivated. Setting small realistic goals, checking your progress, and rewarding yourself are keys to maintaining your program. Finding a workout buddy or personal trainer has been proven to help you stay on track.

I am very busy and can’t seem to make time to exercise. How can I make time?

We all have obligations but making time for exercise is very important. If you find yourself working late or taking care of the kids when you get home, exercise in the morning before starting your day. Can’t exercise before work? Try exercising after work or during your lunch break. Still can’t fit in at least 30 consecutive minutes? Try exercising for 10 minutes, three times per day.

Are group exercise classes better than exercising with a friend or on my own?

The best mode of exercise is the one you enjoy, so you are motivated to continue. Some enjoy exercising on their own and refer to that time as “me time” where they de-stress. Others find exercising on their own is boring or need motivation to keep going and enjoy the company of a friend or a personal trainer. The type of exercise you enjoy may also influence your decision; if you enjoy playing tennis you need a partner or a group, versus dancing which can be performed alone, with a partner, or with a group.

What is functional strength training?

Functional strength training involves performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual's activities of daily living are easier to perform. Simply stated, the primary goal of functional training is to transfer the improvements in strength achieved in one movement to enhancing the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system.

How much exercise do I need?

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these guidelines:

Aerobic activity: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week.

Strength training: Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Want to aim even higher? You can achieve more health benefits, including increased weight loss, if you ramp up your exercise to 300 minutes a week.

Reducing sitting time is important, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems, even if you achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity.

I fatigue easily, even performing household chores. What is the best physical activity for me?

Once you become active and start eating healthy you will have more energy and stamina then before, making every day household chores easier and quicker. A simple walking and resistance training program combined with flexibility and balance exercises is a great way to start.

I am a very active person already, do I really need to do more?

If you are already active, great! Just make sure you are well-rounded, meaning your current program includes endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises.

I am overweight, what kinds of physical activity are safe for me?

All types of exercise—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility—can be modified so that you achieve maximum benefits while being safe. For example: If walking is painful, try riding a bicycle, water aerobics, or an elliptical machine. Anything that gets you moving is an excellent start. And remember: It will get easier!

I’m over 80 years old. Should I be exercising and will it help?

Yes, physical activity is very important at any age! Regular exercise will help you maintain your ability to do the things you are currently able to perform. If you stick with it, you may be able to pick up an activity you thought was forever lost.

I’ve heard that exercise can help control hypertension. How much and what type of exercise is recommended for individuals with hypertension? 

While drug therapy is traditionally considered to be the most effective form of treating high blood pressure, regular exercise has been found to be a valuable and safe adjunct therapy for many people with hypertension. In fact, a sound exercise program may serve as an effective non-drug alternative for some people. Research shows that low-intensity (40 percent to 70 percent of VoO2 max) aerobic exercise can lower systolic blood pressure by approximately 11 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by approximately 9 mmHg in people with mild-to moderate hypertension.