Stillwater News Press

October 21, 2009

Couch to Road 10-21-09

Last week you decided to start an exercise program…

You may have come to this decision for many reasons, such as staying in shape, decreasing your risk of chronic diseases, physical appearance, or for all of the prior mentioned.

Regardless of the reason, good for YOU! Over the next few weeks my goal is to help motivate you to get off the couch, out of the house and outside for a walk or run. The final goal will be to complete the Remember the 10 5K run this coming spring.

First, to get started you need a workout plan. The American College of Sports Medicine's general guidelines are a great guide to assist you with creating a workout plan.

They recommend moderately intense cardio for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or vigorously intense cardio for 20 minutes a day 3 times a week.

Keep in mind that moderate means you are working hard enough to sweat, but can still occasionally converse with a friend.

This recommendation is for healthy adults under the age of 65 wanting to maintain their health and reduce the risk for many chronic diseases.

Begin by setting goals for yourself that are realistic, measureable and attainable. Start by setting a goal to exercise at least one to three times per week.

For example, your goal may be to walk for 20 minutes two times per week and go to the gym and use a cardio machine one time a week for 30 minutes.

Another goal could be to walk for 20-30 minutes, three times per week. Start with your basic goal and then move toward goals centered on gradually increased intensity. Once you have set a maximum of three goals, identify those obstacles that have stood in your way in the past, or ones you may foresee standing in your way in the future.

Ensure that you brainstorm ways to overcome these obstacles before you start your workout program. This will help give you the tools necessary in advance to overcome these obstacles everyone encounters when facing low motivation or a busy lifestyle.

Common obstacles can include a lack of time, procrastination (I'll run tomorrow), or general stress. If time is an obstacle for you, consider exercising first thing in the morning, holding “walking meetings,” or walking for 10 minutes, three times a day to achieve your 30-minute total.

I recommend starting out with a good walking program. Walk 30 minutes a day for three days a week. Once you have mastered this then move on to a walking and jogging program. In the upcoming weeks you will be provided with an outline for both programs, so continue to get out there and keep moving!

Gena Crenshaw, Stillwater, is a registered and licensed dietitian with a master’s of science in nutritional sciences and an emphasis in exercise from Oklahoma State University. She is also a NETA certified personal trainer and NAFTA certified power cycle instructor. Each year she competes in multiple marathons, triathlons and other running and cycling events. She has qualified for and completed the 2009 Boston Marathon. In addition to working as a clinical dietitian, she does individual personal training and nutrition counseling and is a nutrition instructor for Tulsa Community College.