Choose the Fitness Plan That’s Best for You

What fitness plan works best for you!

You don’t need a celebrity trainer to prove a fitness plan to help you stay in shape. Katy Santiago, director of the Restorative Exercise Institute in Ventura, California, and creator of Gaiam’s restorative exercise DVD programs has provided some fitness plan tips.

Here’s how to customize our fitness plan for any of these 7 common conditions:

For Digestive Issues

Latest news: Just a little exercise goes a long way. A Canadian study found that patients with Crohn’s disease, ant-inflammatory bowel condition, who walked 30 minutes, three times a week significantly improved their quality of life.

Katy’s tip: Spinal twists can help, too. As your stomach muscles contract and move toward the spine, the smooth muscles, organs, and fascia of the digestive system are massaged and stimulated to work more efficiently. Do twists on an empty stomach.

Try: Sitting upright in your chair, cross your left knee over the top of the right. Turn to your left, and hook your left arm over the back of the chair, and try to clasp your hands together. As you exhale, pull in the belly to massage the digestive tract. Hold this for 60 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

Going Through Menopause

Latest news: Having trouble catching some z’s? You’re not alone in a study of menopausal women, 95 percent suffered from sleep difficulties, the most common symptom reported. A recent Brazilian study showed that moderate aerobic exercise not only helped patients with chronic insomnia sleep better, but it also helped them sleep longer. Aim for three hours of aerobic exercise a week.

Katy’s tip: Increasing your level of activity can reduce hot flashes. As you begin to exercise, blood moves toward the skin, where it is easier to cool.

Try: 10 minutes of light exercise to dissipate the heat.

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Bone and Joint Issues

Latest news: A study published in Osteoporosis International showed that a combination of strengthening, aerobic, balance, and coordination exercises reduced fracture risk in postmenopausal women by improving bone density as well as muscle strength and balance.

Katy’s tip: Include balance-based exercises, such as standing on one leg, in your workout. Work up to a 30-second balance on each side, holding on to the back of a chair if necessary.

Try: When you walk, make sure your walking shoes are not overly cushioned in the heel. Excessive cushioning actually decreases the bone-generating vibrations that come from your heel striking the ground. Consider walking barefoot, perhaps on a grassy field or a path free of debris as often as possible.

For High Blood Pressure

Latest news: Walking is just as beneficial as running when it comes to warding off heart disease. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reports that otherwise sedentary people who walked 30 minutes a day, three times a week for 12 weeks, saw their systolic blood pressure (the top number) drop five points and their waist measurement (a strong indicator of heart health) shrink by 2.6 centimeters.

Katy’s tips: Relax first, then exercise. With high blood pressure, the priority is relaxation. Intense, unpleasant exercise can actually increase stress levels and even blood pressure in the long-term. A better game plan? Exercise at an easier pace but for a longer time.

Try: Pressure on the cardiovascular system often comes from tension in the muscles that surround your chest cavity. Chest stretching, as illustrated in the mid-back exercise, can decrease muscle tension, opening up more space for blood to flow.

If You’re Overweight

Latest news: When it comes to weight loss, many heavy people think, Why bother? But researchers from the University of Michigan recently found that even an hour of light aerobic exercise helped study participants burn fat.

Katy’s tip: If you are new to movement, exercising in a pool is an excellent way to begin. Most health clubs offer water aerobics; ask to sample a class before you join.

Try: Stretching on a regular basis. This can ease any discomfort that comes with moving your body for the first time. Start with the range-of-motion exercises, then cycle through them for four or five sessions before moving on to something more vigorous.

Suffering from Diabetes

Latest news: A study by experts at Johns Hopkins University shows that moderate aerobic exercise three days a week, combined with weight lifting three days a week, may slash levels of fat in the liver by up to 40 percent in people with type-2 diabetes. Higher liver-fat levels, a common side effect of diabetes, may increase the risk of heart disease.

Katy’s tips: Another common problem for diabetics, neuropathy of the feet, may significantly improve with regular lower leg, ankle, and foot exercises.

Try: Do the foot and leg stretches twice daily. Make sure that your footwear fits comfortably and doesn?t cut into your feet or cause you to grip with your toes.

At Risk for Dementia

Latest news: A study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that any physical activity helps the brain grow new cells, which guards against dementia.

Katy’s tips: Any unfamiliar movement can increase motor skills and brain function. For five minutes a day, open doors, write, and eat with your nondominant hand. Always walk the same route? Try reversing it. If you walk on concrete, try a grassy surface or any varied terrain.

Try: Keeping your house clear of obstacles minimizes the odds of tripping, but it also decreases your chance to practice recovering from a stumble. Practice balancing by walking sideways in your kitchen, or stand on one leg a few times a day. Avoid becoming comfortable with your movement routine strive to mix it up every few months.

Staying healthy is all about getting in shape. As you can see your fitness plan needs to be one that works for you!

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