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Remember, before starting any exercise program, get medical clearance from Dr. Ben-Zur or your family physician. Exercise may not be right for some individuals.

Why should we exercise? Besides exercise being good for your heart, exercise is essential for:

1. Keeping your range of motion

2. Stopping Muscle loss

We all know that exercise is an integral way to lose weight. Losing weight takes stress away from your heart and decreases its work load. But as we grow older, our body begins to lose muscle and stiffen. Exercise with strength training is the only way to retard muscle loss as we age. This will keep us ambulatory as long as possible giving us the independence we need to remain happy. In addition, doing strength training allows us to keep as flexible as possible. If you are working out with bands or light weights, go through a full rang of motion and add stretching everyday to your routine. If you are in pain, exercise in a pool to relieve stress on your joints and let the water provide you with a natural restriction of motion to strengthen your muscles. Here are some tips for a strong routine:

Get in the pool: Many gyms have group classes in the pool to allow you to not only work out, but meet other people who will encourage you to continue exercise regularly.

Mix it up: Don’t just get comfortable doing the same machine day in and day out. Your body will get used to it and you will likely get bored and your health will only get marginally declining returns. Instead, take yourself out of your comfort zone and ask a trainer or gym employee to show you the proper way to use a different machine. This will ensure that you are working all of your muscles and all of your muscle fiber types.

Don’t be intimidated: The gym can be an intimidating place. I played competitive sports throughout my life so I’ve been in a gym since I was 12 years old back in Tennessee. However, if you didn’t play sports or you played sports that didn’t require lifting weights, then you likely walk in a gym and see mass confusion. Simply talk to someone that is working there and ask them to show you a couple of exercises to work different areas of your body. After you have mastered those, ask again. Don’t worry, it’s their job to help you so ask away! Once you know all the machines, you can mix and match workouts so that you are always doing different, challenging routines that will leave you feeling accomplished.

Be creative: Who says that you can’t do five minutes on a bike, then lift some weights, then jump in the pool for some laps and then cool down stretches? Stay moving and be creative.

Take a friend: It’s hard for anyone to stay motivated. Even the most dedicated gym enthusiasts need extra motivation to stay active. If you can get a friend to go, you can stay accountable to each other and feed of of each other’s energy. Choose your friends and gym buddies wisely though.

Once you begin working out you may feel sore. That is normal. Stick with it. Your body will get in shape and the soreness will go away. Once you have been working out for two weeks or so, it will become second nature. You will just be used to making it a part of your life 🙂

 

Live strong and happy! From your friends at The Cardiovascular Institute of Greater Los Angeles!

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