Tips for Customizing Your Fitness Routine

The new year brings a new chance to rework your fitness routine. Too often, we look at what others are doing as rules for ourselves. The best way to create a successful fitness routine is by building a routine around your life and what you enjoy.

It requires taking a personal approach, fitting it into your schedule, setting achievable goals, tracking your progress, and rewarding your efforts. Once in place, a customized fitness routine will serve you well this year and for many years to come. You can do this!

Your Fitness Level

It helps to know how fit you are and it’s OK if you’re not as fit as you thought. Take some measurements before starting an exercise regimen so you can track your progress. Things to record include:

  • Your pulse after walking 30 minutes
  • The distance you can walk in 30 minutes
  • How many standard or modified pushups you can do at a time
  • How far forward you can reach while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
  • The circumference of your waist just above your hipbones

Have Health Issues?

You should talk to your doctor before you start exercising if you’re over age 50 or have chronic health issues. You want to be especially careful with heart conditions, balance issues, and muscle weakness.

You can still exercise of course. You should just consult with your physician about the proper exercises to do, how frequently, and for how long.

Keep Your Routine Well-Rounded

There are so many great ways to stay active. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Better yet, mixing up your physical activity between endurance and strength/balance exercises will lead to a bigger variety of health benefits.

Here are some common endurance exercises to try:

  • A brisk walk
  • Running or jogging
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bike
  • Climbing stairs
  • Zumba
  • Sports such as soccer or basketball

Combine these workouts with strength and balancing training such as:

  • Lifting weights
  • Weight machine training
  • Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, lunges, or squats
  • Jumping rope
  • Sprinting
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Pilates

No matter what kind of workouts you enjoy, it’s important to find the right balance for your body. Tired from a long walk or run? Switch things up the next day with a yoga routine or free weights. Remember to give yourself rest days, too.

Sticking with the Program

Exercise should become a habit for each of us. We eat, sleep, shower, and we should exercise. So, don’t think about exercising in terms of dropping weight for that high school reunion, or to get ready for swimsuit season. Think about it as part of your life:

  • Make it personal — Think about what you like to do, the time you have, and your physical condition. You want to be able to sustain your workout, especially if you plan to go from sedentary to active.
  • Make it fit — Don’t be afraid to schedule time to exercise. Work and family obligations are important, but so are you. You make a schedule for those other commitments. It’s time to commit to yourself. Give yourself some grace to adjust until you are an expert at your new routine.
  • Set goals — These goals should be realistic. Don’t expect to run a mile on your first day of exercising. Build up to it over several weeks, or maybe even months. Walking is a great start. You don’t even have to walk every day. You just have to get used to moving.
  • Track progress — Record how long you walk, how far you go, and how long it takes to travel that distance. You can measure all sorts of things. Keep a written record. You will be amazed at your progress, and it will serve to motivate you toward other goals.
  • Reward your efforts — Celebrate those victories. Don’t do it with treats you may regret. Download a book to listen to on your walk. Get yourself a new water bottle or pair of exercise shoes. Do something to reward your hard work.

Helping You Get Started

AltaMed is focused on your overall wellness and can help you get started on a fitness routine that works for you. Talk to your AltaMed physician if you want recommendations on where to begin, or to help you create the routine that’s best for you.

Call AltaMed at (877) 462-2582 to get stared with us today.

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New Year

Surprisingly Simple New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions can feel daunting. Fresh off a holiday high, it’s easy to declare we’ll cut out sugar, run a marathon, or start training at the gym. When January 1 finally rolls around, those promises suddenly feel a little more real, and a lot harder.

That’s why when it comes to your health, it’s important to remember that small, easy changes can really add up. Below is an extensive list of very simple resolutions you can make that can have a significant impact on you and those around you:

  1. Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators to get some extra steps.
  2. Park farther away than you normally would.
  3. Schedule time to turn off electronic devices and be with your thoughts.
  4. Limit screen time before bed and read a book or magazine instead.
  5. Make it a priority to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
  6. Make your bed every morning.
  7. Increase outdoor time to get more vitamin D. But don’t forget the sunscreen.
  8. Make mealtime phone-free time.
  9. If you don’t usually cook at home, try it at least once a week.
  10. Pack a lunch with healthy foods.
  11. Prepare some simple, yet nutritious items for yourself during the week.
  12. Don’t over-fill your plate. Start with smaller portions and add more if still hungry.
  13. Try going meatless at least once a week. And, try eating more lean poultry or pork versus beef.
  14. Give yourself a cutoff time for snacking. Drink water instead.
  15. Think about your fat intake and reduce it when you can.
  16. Think about your salt intake and reduce it when you can.
  17. Add a serving of fruits or vegetables to every meal.
  18. Try to drink one glass of water every hour during the day.
  19. If you can’t buy fresh vegetables, get frozen.
  20. Have one night where the whole family eats dinner together.
  21. Try flossing more.
  22. Find a day each month to volunteer.
  23. Wash your hands, take a multivitamin, get your flu shots, and take other precautions to keep from catching seasonal illnesses.
  24. Make an appointment with your doctor and dentist.
  25. Plan for holiday, birthday, or anniversary gift giving by looking out for sales.
  26. Put things away when you’re through with them to avoid cluttering your space.
  27. Get rid of things you never use.
  28. Experiment with rearrange your furniture to give your living space a new look.
  29. Try to give more honest compliments.
  30. Call a loved one and ask them about their day.
  31. Focus on controlling what you can.
  32. At the end of each day, write down three good things that happened that day. Try to have three different things each day. This helps you practice gratefulness and look for the good in your life.

We’ve Got You

We are so often our toughest critics. Whether you’re looking to make big changes in 2023, or just want to keep your health on track, AltaMed has you covered. We have bilingual health care professionals in your neighborhood. In fact, many of our doctors live in the communities they serve. We’re dedicated to helping individuals and families get the right care they need to grow healthy.

Call AltaMed at (888) 499-9303 to get started.

Children Playing Soccer

Avoiding and Treating Sports-Related Injuries

Summer is here and you want to make the most of your time in the sunshine. There are games to play, fun to have, and activities abound.

Kids and adults participate in different summer leagues, but there are also lots of opportunities for pickup sports — soccer, softball, basketball — and activities in general — hiking, swimming, and biking.

Stretch Before Starting

Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean your body is warmed up for whatever activity you have in mind. You need to stretch your muscles before any activity if you’re not already a regular athlete. Stretching helps prevent muscle strains and sprains which can potentially sideline you, forcing you to miss big chunks of your summer.

Boy Playing Baseball

Get Equipped

Some activities require special safety equipment. Activities like baseball, softball, biking, and skateboarding should be done with helmets worn to protect your head. Mouthguards provide extra protection for baseball and skateboarding.

Shoes can be important for safety. Cleats for baseball, softball, soccer, or football will give you better traction and keep you from sliding around on the field. Wearing shoes with ankle support will help you playing basketball or volleyball. You also want to wear durable shoes or hiking boots if going on a walk over rugged terrain.

Be sure to wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Also, never swim alone; be sure there is a lifeguard on duty or go with a friend.

Rest, Recharge and Refuel

When you were a kid, it seemed like you could go all day, every day and never need a break. But even if you feel that way today, or your kids insist they can keep going, it’s good to work in time to rest.

You’re expending valuable energy regardless of the activity. Overdoing it can lead to a potential injury from overuse.

Make sure you refuel with a snack such as fruit. And be sure to drink plenty of water. Energy and sports drinks may be okay when you’re recovering from a workout, but nothing beats water when you’re in the middle of an activity. It will keep you from dehydrating and overheating.

Listen to Your Body

There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the action, especially if you’re starting to feel your muscles get tight, or you start feeling pain or swelling in your joints.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know you might need to stop. Heed those warnings. Failure to do so could lead to a more serious injury that could require a trip to the doctor or the emergency room.

Baskeball Teacher

Treating Injury When It Occurs

Despite your best efforts, it’s likely you or someone close to you will end up bruised, scraped, sprained, or even with a concussion from playing sports. Here’s what you should do in each situation.

  • Bruising — The most common happens to soft tissue. It changes color, there’s some swelling, and it’s painful to touch. These take time to heal. Rest whenever possible. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day. Wrap the area to reduce swelling and elevate the bruised area above your heart.
  • Cuts and scrapes — Make sure whoever treats the area has clean hands to keep from spreading infection. Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound with running water and clean the area around the wound with soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to help prevent scarring then cover the wound with a bandage or clean gauze. Change the dressing daily and get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or was dirty and it’s been at least five years since your last shot. See a doctor if you see redness, swelling, drainage or feel increased pain.
  • Sprains and strains — Sprains are injuries to tissue connecting bones. Strains are injuries to the muscle or the tissue connecting muscle to bone. Sprains are most common in your ankle, wrist, knee, or thumb. It’s important to ice the affected area, elevate it, and wrap it to reduce swelling. Most sprains take time. Severe sprains may require surgery if ligaments are torn.
  • Concussion — This is an injury to your brain that will require some rest. That means limiting video gaming, watching TV, texting, reading, homework, or using a computer. After 48 hours you can slowly increase your daily activities if they don’t cause any symptoms like dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, or nosebleeds. See a doctor if these conditions persist.

See Us with Any Questions

The experienced physicians and medical staff at AltaMed are familiar with sports injuries and know how to get you back on your feet and into the fun. It starts by developing a good relationship with your primary care physician. Call (888) 499-9303 for information or to make an appointment.

Tips for Customizing Your Fitness Routine