Rivergate Terrace
Rivergate Terrace

Exercising Safely


01/25/2021
Our Therapy Department

January is a perfect time to focus on your health and begin an exercise routine. Many people have been less active than usual because of the colder weather and holidays. 2020 has especially led to even more inactivity than normal because of quarantine and less accessibility to fitness centers.

Trying to get back in shape can seem like a daunting task, but using just your body and some items you have at home, can help you begin exercising safely. Here are some reminders and precautions from our therapy department for safely starting a new exercise program in order to be the best you for 2021!

Remember to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program: start slow and build up gradually.

  • Walk five to 10 minutes per day. When this becomes easy, add a few minutes each week until you’re walking 30-60 minutes per day; moderate intensity is best to improve/maintain cardiorespiratory health.
  • Strengthening five to ten repetitions per day until this feels easy, then add a few repetitions each week until you are able to do three sets of ten repetitions.
  • You can use household items as resistance:
    • 16 ounce can of soup = one pound
    • 16 ounce bottle of water = one pound
    • ½ gallon of milk = about five pounds
    • Gallon of milk = about 10 pounds
    • You can also get creative by using books, fill socks with rice or grains, use bags of sugar, laundry detergent bottles, etc.

Remember to use a variety of exercises.

  • For example: strength, balance, cardio and flexibility.
  • Stretching is important. Hold stretches at least 60 seconds with no bouncing.
  • Use stable surfaces for support with balance tasks such as a countertop and gradually reduce your reliance.
  • Do exercises for upper- and lower-body.
  • Make sure you are using good posture and not leaning or moving differently to achieve the expected goal.

Remember to take breaks as needed, you can split up exercises throughout the day to make it more manageable for your lifestyle.

  • For example: during commercial breaks, while brushing your teeth, while waiting for coffee/tea to brew, etc.

Remember to monitor your body’s response.

Heart rate

  • Talk test: Can you comfortably say the Pledge of Allegiance (or something similar) or hold a conversation while exercising? If so, you are at a moderate level of intensity, which is safe and appropriate for cardiorespiratory exercise.

Blood pressure (if you have access to a blood pressure cuff)

  • Normal = under 120/80
  • Prehypertension = 120-139/80-89
  • Hypertension stage 1 = 140-159/90-99
  • Hypertension stage 2 = above 160/above 100
  • Hypertensive crisis = above 180/above 110

Oxygen > 92% (if you have access to a pulse oximeter)

  • > 92% (if you have access to a pulse oximeter)

Blood sugar levels

  • Exercise can help reduce these, so monitor and make sure you are in a safe range. Consult your physician before adjusting medications.

Remember to stay hydrated.

  • The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
    • about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men.
    • about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

*This is only recommended if you are not on any kind of restriction or if you do not have any cardiac precautions.

Your fluid intake is probably adequate if:

  • you rarely feel thirsty.
  • your urine is colorless or light yellow.

Remember: If it hurts, stop and consult your physician.

Remember: Physical therapy can help guide you in developing a safe and appropriate routine.

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Rivergate Terrace


(734) 284-8000

14141 Pennsylvania Road, Riverview, MI 48192

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