Fitness Friday: Cardio Soul Search

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This article was written by Green Mountain senior fitness specialist LynnAnn Covell for Already Pretty, in response to a reader question about finding the right fitness routine when you have time and mobility issues (in this case scoliosis and knee tenderness).

It is an exciting and hopeful moment when you find a physical activity that works for you and your body – one that feels good, one that feels right. When you’ve decided after a period of being sedentary that you want to get moving again, you might need to try several things until something clicks and you want to keep doing it. But, the number of options when you have schedule or physical limitations can be … well … limited. So, you might need to get creative.

When time is getting between you and your fitness, one solution is to break down activities into shorter increments. At Green Mountain at Fox Run, one of our favorite quotes is, “Something is always better than nothing.” If your schedule prevents you from taking a one-hour class or going for a longer run or walk, break the activity down to, say, three times/day for 10 minutes each. It all counts!

Another solution when time is scarce is to incorporate more movement into your “everyday life.” No class or fancy equipment necessary. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you typically drive to the store, walk. Instead of watching TV with the family after dinner, play a game of badminton instead. You can even find inventive ways to fit strength training into your daily routine – like at your desk or while you are on the phone.

When physical limitations are your primary concern, there are more cardio options than you might realize. First, the classes where you think you might have to “bust a move” and therefore might bust your knee, may be able to be modified for you. Let’s say you want to try Zumba®, but are afraid that it’s just going to be too much for your body. Talk to the instructor before class, let her know what you are dealing with, and ask if she can show you modifications for your knee, hip, shoulders, etc. If she can’t, then move on to another class or another instructor.

Also, consider new activities where there is much less impact on the joints, like swimming or aquatics. Or, how about using an exercise ball? Not only can it remove pressure from the knees, but it can also support the lower back. FitBALL® offers several beginner DVDs that you can try at home, including one I recommend for under-active adults. Green Mountain will also be releasing a “Cardio on the FitBall” video by the end of the year. Of course, you should ask your physician before you try any new workout.

Lastly, don’t forget about online resources in your fitness soul search, where you can learn from others who found what worked for their bodies and their lives. Some of my favorites include Curvy Yoga and MizFit Online.

If you have time or mobility issues, what do you do to get your cardio in?

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