Baby steps go a long way to increase fitness |

Baby steps go a long way to increase fitness

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Take small steps in improving your overall health.

Summertime is here, and getting out for a little exercise is important for overall health. However, it’s often a daunting task for adults who want to get into shape, especially for those with weight and health problems.

The key to success is to take baby steps, move slow and be mindful of your body if you’re just starting to increase physical activity after months — or years — of neglecting to do so.

“If you’re looking to get more active, that does not mean you need to go from zero to 60,” said Jennifer Riley, chief of marketing and business development at The Memorial Hospital. “It’s so hard if you have a health condition. There are challenges, but even getting outside and getting some vitamin D is good for your health.”

Often, it just takes changing the way you look at exercise and how to fit it into busy schedules.

“Park in the back of the parking lot. Take the stairs whenever you can,” said Suzi Mariano, director of marketing and development at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. “Get outside and play with your kids as much as you can. There’s so many things to do outside in the summer.”

Finding an exercise partner also helps with motivation, Mariano highlighted.

“I encourage people to exercise together. It’s a lot easier when you have an exercise buddy,” she said. “Make it fun. It all counts.”

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of doing household chores to boost activity.

“Aerobic activity or ‘cardio’ gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. From pushing a lawn mower to taking a dance class — all types of activities count. As long as you’re doing them at a moderate or vigorous intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Many overweight adults are afraid of starting an exercise program, said Marshall Kraker, the certified athletic trainer for TMH and Moffat County School District.

“A lot of people I’ve talked to, they’re very apprehensive,” he said. “They feel embarrassed because of their weight. Don’t feel embarrassed. Try to find people to help you exercise.”

He also suggests doing something that you like doing, which makes it easier to get off the couch.

“I know people are told to start running or start jogging, but for a lot of people that can be a literal pain in the butt,” Kraker said. “Try baby steps. Go out for a nice evening walk. Go around the block.”

Craig residents often complain about the lack of sidewalks in the city, so Riley suggested that people try the 1.5-mile loop around TMH and Colorado Northwestern Community College.

“The hospital and the college, when they were built, they had to comply with subdivision requirements with sidewalks,” she said. “It’s a hilly little walk. Come and have a healthy salad at the hospital after your walk.”

Reach Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

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