Getting in Shape for the Summer
By: Rick Weinstein, M.D., MBA
As the weather gets warmer, it is apparent who has been hibernating and not kept in shape in the colder months. This is the time of year where most people want to get into better shape. This should be a year-round activity, but the warmer days definitely afford you more opportunities to work out. The journey to getting in shape always starts with the first step. This may mean starting with walking. It is best to have a good pair of sneakers or running shoes and a softer surface, such as grass or a track, which is better than the streets. You should be able to get a sweat going and get your heart rate up to get a real work out. Many phones can measure your heart rate using one of the work-out apps that are readily available. Try and get your heart rate up to 60% of your maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate is approximated as 220-age.
It is important to do the work-out that you enjoy doing. If you like running or biking, then do that. If you prefer tennis or soccer, go out and play. You should be working out 6 days a week. If you do only 1-2 days a week, you will not get much benefit at all.
Before you get involved in working out and playing sports, warm up and stretch out. Do not push yourself too hard initially, but as you get into better shape, you do need to continue to push yourself. Give yourself short challenges and try to meet goals. Studies have shown that tracking your workouts on a calendar is more likely to keep you on the track to getting into better shape.
If you want to lose weight, working out can help, but the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. Pick a reasonable diet that you can handle and stick to it. Don’t switch diets every few weeks or you will not lose any weight.
The goal of getting shape is to be healthier and feel better. Working out will give you a psychological boost and it is a cure for sadness and depression. The weather is warmer and the days are more pleasant, so get yourself outside and do something good for you.