Battling the post-holiday blues, snow, and sub-zero temps makes it easy
to choose the couch over being active. Don’t give up on your health
goals. Cortland Regional’s cardiology and pulmonology experts share
some creative indoor workout ideas that won’t break the bank or a bone.
Set realistic goals
If you haven’t exercised in years or your diet has been mainly fast
food, “Identify one thing you want to change and focus on that,”
says Lisa Snyder, FNP with Cortland Regional’s cardiology team.
“Whether it’s quitting smoking or cutting out junk food, choose
the one thing you can control. Your chances of success will be greater.”
Snyder points out that making too many lifestyle changes at once makes
a relapse or failure more likely.
“Being healthy looks and feels different for everyone and to expect
a patient to make life changes, you have to meet them half way,”
adds Cortland Regional cardiologist, Dr. Hana Smith. By working with her
patients where they are most comfortable, Dr. Smith can guide them towards
a path to better health. “Focusing on how someone feels can be just
as important as the number on their scale.”
Walk it off
For overall cardiovascular fitness no other activity beats walking. But
even the fittest person should limit their exposure to cold, dry air at
below-freezing temps. Thankfully there are good indoor walking alternatives.
Headed to the grocery store? Dr. Jorge Davidenko, Cortland Regional cardiologist,
advises walking the perimeter before you start shopping. Facilities like
Cortland’s JM McDonald Center have an indoor, year-round track.
Seven Valleys Health Coalition recently started a senior indoor walking
program at Barry Elementary that runs until March.
“You can walk anywhere, even in your own home,” says Dr. Yatin
Kheti, Cortland Regional pulmonologist. Kheti works with many patients
who struggle with COPD, asthma, and other lung conditions who are also
working to increase their fitness. “I tell my patients to walk laps
around the dining room table or through their house. The goal is to get
Work it out
Dodie Hartmann, Cortland Regional’s cardiac rehab specialist encourages
her patients to join a local fitness center. “Our patients have
already been using the rehab gym and developed the habit of five to six
days of cardiovascular exercise a week. All they need to add is some strength
training.” Local gyms like Cortland Fitness Center, the Y’s,
Anytime Fitness, and the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex offer flexible memberships
that accommodate every schedule and lifestyle. Are you more of a homebody?
You can stream online exercise programs, pop in a DVD, or clean the house,
“but be sure to limit your time sitting in front of the television
and computer,” stresses Hartmann. “And don’t make eating
one of your top winter activities!”
Try something new
Be playful and enjoy time with a friend while raising your heart rate.
Taking a yoga, Zumba, spinning, Jazzercise, or water aerobics class together
can put a fun twist on exercise. Hartmann highly recommends working out
with a partner because “you can hold one another accountable while encouraging and supporting one another.”
You vs. you
Tracking devices like Fitbit®s and online mobile apps like The Daily
Burn are just a few of the technology options that can help motivate,
coach, and track your progress. If you’ve been sedentary and are
starting a daily activity like walking, Marlyss DuBois, PA of Cortland
Regional cardiology recommends a simple pedometer. “Basic models
aren’t expensive and they let you see if you’re moving enough
or if you should be doing more. It can turn tracking your daily steps
into a game to beat the previous day’s results.”
Celebrate the little victories
Have you cut down on cigarettes? Can you climb a flight of stairs without
getting winded? Did you chose an apple over a Munchkin? It’s all
about taking small steps and appreciating slow, steady progress. Dr. Smith
asks her patients, “Do your clothes fit? Is your mood better? These
results will add up and help support your effort to achieve long term
success in fitness.”