Pool Fitness

If you want a workout that will burn calories without leaving you feeling like you’ve beaten up — it could be as easy as using water to get fit. Even if you can’t swim — it’s possible to use a pool as a fitness tool — which can be beneficial to people who can’t, or don’t want to run.

This month, Wendy Holmes is on hand to help us look good and feel great while we slim down in a splash.

Sticking With A Fitness Plan

There are many reasons people begin fitness programs — new year, wedding, reunion, and doctor’s orders — and they quit for nearly as many reasons. Staying with a program is as important as starting it in the first place.

Lurene Cachola is here with tips on how to stick with your plan.

Whether You’re 5 or 95 – Exercise Is Important

Regular exercise improves health, slows the effects of aging.

Gerry Burditt, 64, took action when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis about three years ago.

She was inspired by former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, 70, who was diagnosed with osteopenia, an early stage of osteoporosis, in 1996. Richards had suspected she had the disease, which is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. Her mother had suffered from the disease and Richards wanted to know if she had it. Once Richards found out she had the disease, she immediately made changes to improve her health. She started lifting weights and working out in a gym. Then she crisscrossed the nation telling her story and raising awareness about osteoporosis. Her book about her struggle, I’m Not Giving Up, was published in 2003.

After Burditt was diagnosed, she called Baptist Rehabilitation in Cordova and asked for help to develop a fitness plan. That was two years ago. Ever since, she has exercised at the facility every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for one hour each session. Her workout consists of cardiovascular exercise, upper and lower body strength training, and balance and coordination work.

Burditt had always lived an active life — raising three boys, helping her husband operate their business, working actively in her yard, and volunteering in the community. But she had never exercised on a consistent, regular basis.

“I always felt I didn’t have time,” Burditt said. “Now I treat my workouts like a job. I never miss unless I am out of town.”

When she started going to Baptist Rehabilitation, she thought she was in great shape. She soon found she had balance problems and her cardiovascular fitness and body strength needed work as well. But Burditt never gave up and her perseverance has paid off. Medical tests show her bone density has significantly increased. She is building bone rather than losing it. Her story proves it is never too late to start a regular exercise routine.

“Everybody needs to try this,” Burditt said. “They (Baptist Rehabilitation) opened my eyes.”

Age should not be a limiting factor for beginning an exercise program. Every person, but particularly those 60 and older, should have a check-up with a physician before starting an exercise program. The doctor will consider any health problems, medications, or other conditions that may determine what type of exercise program is best.

The American Heart Association recommends that even moderate amounts of physical acitivity can have significant health benefits for older adults. For older adults, this moderate amount of activity can come from:

  • Longer sessions of moderately intense activities such as walking or swimming.
  • Shorter sessions of more vigorous activities such as fast walking or stair climbing.
  • Greater amounts of physical activity (longer duration, higher intensity or more frequent) can bring additional benefits. But it should not be done excessively, or injury may result.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are important, too. As people age, they begin to lose bone and muscle mass, which accelerates considerably after age 50. In older adults, muscle-strengthening exercises should focus on multi-joint or “full-body” exercises – those that use different muscle groups rather than focusing on one.

Benefits of strength training also include improved bone health and reductions in risk for osteoporosis, improved posture, reduced risk of falling, increased flexibility and range of motion, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This type of exercise also improves the ability to perform daily tasks. The loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is due, in part, to reduced physical activity.
Burditt said she benefited from having a trained professional design her program and work with her during each session. The staff was a constant source of encouragement, she said. “I couldn’t do this by myself. I need the support and encouragement. The staff is very caring. I can’t say enough about them.”

Baptist Rehabilitation has several fitness programs. You can meet with a specialist at its facility in Cordova for a fee which includes 12 sessions. Baptist Rehabilitation-Germantown offers several types of classes, including Tai Chi, Pilates, osteoporosis fitness, and aquatics. For more information, please call (901) 624-8672.

Published: October 31, 2005
Source: Baptist Rehabiliation; Gerry Burditt; American Heart Association; American College of Sports Medicine
Writer: Writer: Elizabeth Todd Bartholomew, MA, APR

5 Steps to Loving Exercise … Or At Least Not Hating It

We all know the benefits of regular physical activity – increased energy, better cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and looking more svelte.

But 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, and, according to a recent American Heart Association website survey, 14 percent say they don’t like exercise.

So how do you overcome an exercise aversion? Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, has some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life – and maybe even learn to like it.

Exercise That Suits You
Find an exercise that best fits your personality, Dr. Carnethon said. If you are social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group exercise class, join a kickball team or walk with a group of friends. Or, if you prefer having time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit for you. MyWalkingClub.org is the perfect way to connect with others who share your goals, lifestyles, schedules and hobbies.

Try some of these ideas to help you get moving – at home, at work or at play.

Make it a Habit
It takes about three weeks for something to become a habit, so give yourself the time to create a regular routine. One way is to try to exercise around the same time each day.
“Exercise can become addictive in a positive way,” said Dr. Carnethon, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing something.”

Build Exercise Into Your Lifestyle
Be honest with yourself. If you don’t live close to a gym, it’s not going to become a habit for you. Likewise, if you are not a morning person, don’t plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.

“The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive,” Dr. Carnethon said.

There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to make a big financial investment.

You can borrow exercise videos from the library or DVR an exercise program. Do weight or resistance training with items around your home (for example, use canned goods as light weights). Walking is great option, as well. The only investment is a good pair of shoes.

Do Bouts of Exercise
It’s OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments, Dr. Carnethon said. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions.

You could do a quick calisthenics routine when you wake up, take a brief walk after lunch at work and, if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Keep Going
If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. Everybody struggles once in a while. Just make sure you get back at it the next day.

“It doesn’t take too long to get back on track,” Dr. Carnethon said. “It’s easy to make something a habit again. You will see same benefits before. Any little bit you can fit in will show benefits.”

Borrowed from American Heart Association

Protect Your Health, Protect Your Brain


The American Heart Association says what helps your heart can help your brain, too. Following a heart-healthy lifestyle can lower your chances of having a stroke, and it can also make a big difference in your mental abilities as you age.

Top 9 Healthiest Lifestyle Choices for Women

Chart your course for better health

It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the health care advice offered by experts and wannabe experts in the media today.

Is fat good or bad? Am I eating too many carbohydrates? How often am I supposed to exercise? Do I need to take vitamin supplements or not; if so, how many and which ones?

The confusion is enough to make you want to throw up your hands, lean back in the recliner and forget about it.

But if you want to live your best, healthiest life, thats not the right choice. Dr. Susan Murrmann-Price, an obstetrician/gynecologist with the McDonald-Murrmann Womens Clinic in Memphis, Tenn., has made things a little easier for those searching for a healthier lifestyle.

Murrmann-Price has developed a list of recommendations called The 9 Healthiest Lifestyle Choices for Women, based on extensive research and personal experience. Following this advice will put you on the road to a fitter, more productive life.

In the tradition of the Top 10 List of talk show host David Letterman, well start with Number 9 and work our way up.

#9 Kick the habit. Stop smoking or better yet, dont start. It is well-known that smoking causes lung cancer and other serious ailments such as emphysema. But smoking also is linked to or is known to aggravate other conditions such as bladder cancer, cervical dysplasia, heart disease, osteoporosis, premature aging of the skin and high blood pressure.

The bottom line is dont start, Murrmann-Price said. But its never too late to stop.

#8 Go for fake instead of bake. Unprotected sun exposure poses many health risks including skin cancer. Make sure to use sunscreen whenever in the sun. If you really want that bronzed look, try self-tanning products. They are available at drug stores and discount stores. Many salons and spas offer bronzing application services as well.

#7 Reinvent yourself over and over. Studies show that people who make changes and are happier in their lives live much longer, Murrmann-Price said.

How you view changes in your life can help give you a positive outlook. Take stock in your life. If youre unhappy, make some changes.

#6 Take vitamins. It is unlikely your daily diet will provide you with the vitamins, minerals and other substances you need for maximum health. Murrmann-Price recommends the following supplements.

  • Calcium and Vitamin D.These two substances build strong, healthy bones, but did you also know your heart needs calcium? If you dont take in enough calcium your heart will start taking it from your bones. Calcium also aids in fat metabolism and colon cancer prevention. Women start losing calcium at age 30.
  • Essential fatty acids. Over the last few decades, much emphasis has been placed on low-fat diets, but your body does need some fat. It is especially important for making hormones. If you take the fat out of your diet, your hormones are going to suffer, Murrmann-Price said. Now that doesnt mean adding fried chicken and onion rings. You need good fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Sources of good fat include flaxseed oil, primrose oil, olive oil and nuts. For more information on omega-3 fatty acids, visit Baptist Online or the American Heart Association.
  • Antioxidants. Our bodies contain substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells. When healthy cells are weakened, they are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Niacin and folic acid.These substances help increase good cholesterol and lower the bad.
  • Baby aspirin.It provides protection for stroke and heart disease.
  • Multivitamin. A multivitamin is a good overall supplement.

For more information, visit the Baptist Online home page and click on Nutrition or visit the National Library of Medicine Web site and perform a search on the word nutrition.

#5 De-stress your life. Stress contributes to or is the cause of many health problems including irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic pain, heart disease, fatigue, backaches and depression. It wears down the immune system.

There are places in my home where I know I can go to be relaxed, Murrmann-Price said. Find a space for yourself. Find out what makes you relax.

Exercise is also a great way to reduce your stress level.

#4 Find a role model and be a role model. We should all live our lives in a way so that we can set examples for others. Inspire others to live a better life. One good way to achieve that goal is to look to your own role models. What makes you admire them? Use their lives as motivation to build your own unique, productive life.

#3 Get that tune-up. Get a check-up once a year. Get your mammogram, Pap smear, blood pressure, and cholesterol tests. Consult your physician about other needed tests and exams.

I always tell my patients it starts with your heart, Murrmann-Price said. If youre not taking care of your heart, it doesnt matter how well everything else works. If you take care of your heart, your heart will take care of you.

#2 Eat right for your type. Cut down on carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Know the ingredients of what you are eating and pay attention to portion size. There are lots of additives in foods. Stay away from highly refined foods. Eat lean proteins and dont be afraid of the right kinds of fat. We need fat to live.

#1 Get off the couch. You cant lead an inactive lifestyle and expect to be fit. Too many Americans dont get enough exercise. It is estimated that 61 percent of Americans are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some 13 percent of children and teenagers are overweight, according to the CDC. Regular, vigorous exercise is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. Murrmann-Price advises 45 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise four times a week. However, before starting a new exercise program, you should consult with your physician.

Published: Sept. 29, 2003