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Want to get in shape for spring? What to keep in mind when starting an exercise routine

“If you’re going to get back into an exercise routine, if you’re going to benefit from it, you need to do it regularly" said Beth Trouy with Saint Francis Hospital.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For anyone starting an exercise program, it’s important to consider what kind of exercise. What will help the most, and what will the person stick with?

Experts say for anyone who wants to be successful with exercise, consider consistency, motivation, and balance.

“I frequently have patience ask me, ‘I really want to get back in shape. I want to get started on exercising again.’ And how we get started depends on what level you’re at. Are there any pre-existing conditions that we need to check out?” said Beth Trouy, Supervisor of Outpatient Physical Therapy at Saint Francis Hospital.

Consider the amount of time devoted to exercise.

“If you’re going to get back into an exercise routine, if you’re going to benefit from it, you need to do it regularly. You can’t be sporadic or you’re, you’re gonna be wasting your time They really need to exercise a minimum of three days a week, preferably five,” said Trouy.

Keeping motivated can be an issue for many. It’s important to find a reason to keep it going.

“Motivation is often what captures people. They had good intentions, but they can’t stay motivated. They feel like they hit a rut,” said Trouy.

To fight the rut, Trouy suggests this:

“What I encourage people to do is write down a list of the obstacles. What is it that’s keeping you from doing it and start tackling them one by one. I found the most common motivating problem is lack of time. And so for my patients, I really tell them that you’re going to have to prioritize exercise and let go of some other things for a while if it’s really gonna stay on your list.”

Also determine, why exercise? Is it to lose weight, get healthy, strengthen muscles?

“For balance, if we want to keep our body healthy then we’ve got to work counter muscles and counter positions. Because that’s what keeps our spine in good alignment. When we’re in the same position too much or doing the same form of exercise our body begins to adapt to that and we start to get tightness and weakness in certain areas and our spine actually begins to change,” said Trouy.

It can help to have an expert on hand to go through parameters and protocols, such as how to use a machine safely, or what exercises are best for body type and goals.

And the workout doesn’t end with getting off a treadmill or putting down a weight.

“When you’re finished, you’re not finished. You need to remember that if you want to feel good about working out the next time, then you need to do a post exercise routine and what that involves stretching,” said Trouy. “The worst thing we could do is finish exercising and then go jump in the car and drive for 30 minutes and go back home. That’s a recipe for causing strain on muscles and tendons that have not had a chance to cool back down. So, make sure when you’re allotting time to exercise on your calendar that you leave time for that cool down period. You’ll feel better for it.”

And remember, before starting any exercise routine, it’s best to see a doctor, especially for anyone with a history of heart problems, joint problems, or issues like arthritis.

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