January aka “Time To Get Back in Shape” Month! – Elizabeth Dyer PT,DPT


Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and some much needed time off. Now the New Year is here and it’s time for those New Year’s resolutions to go into action! A lot of us begin the year with a renewed sense of determination to be better about adhering to our work out regime or starting a completely new one. Whether you are joining a gym, trying a class or hiring a personal trainer here are some basic exercise physiology principles to keep in mind.

1) Heart rate maximum. If you don’t know what yours is you should calculate it and stay within certain parameters. The equation is “220 – your age”. For example; if you are 45 then your heart rate max is 220 – 45 = 175bpm. You should not be exercising if your heart rate goes above 175 bpm if you are 45. The surgeon general recommends doing aerobic exercise at 50-85% of your heart rate max. Once calculated this means that the 45 year old in the example above would want to stay in the range of 87-148 bpm.

2) Did you know that you lose weight faster if you do aerobic AND strengthening? If your goal is to shed pounds then it is recommended that you do 80% aerobic (running, elliptical, bike or swimming) and 20% strengthening. When doing aerobic exercise it takes about 30 minutes before your body stops using available energy and starts breaking down fat for energy. So keep up that heart rate for 30 minutes at least!

3) The ACSM also recommends that 150-250 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise be performed per week in order to lose weight. This breaks down into 30min 5x week or 60min of vigorous exercise 3x week (you can break it up a number of ways). Resistance training is recommended to do 2-3x week (including each major muscle group) and to give your muscles at least a 48hr break between work outs to recover. 

4) Last but not least…if you haven’t worked out for a while please remember to STRETCH before doing vigorous exercise! This reduces the risk of tearing a muscle by a lot. Personally I always recommend stretching a warm muscle vs. a cold one. This means warming up for 5 min, stopping to stretch and then continuing on with your workout. Hold each stretch at least 30 seconds. OK. Let’s get going on those resolutions and whip our bodies into a more healthy state! Happy New Year from ARC!


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