Staying Fit and Germ free this Holiday
Staying Fit and Germ free this Holiday

December: Time to Move and Wash your hands!

When we think of December, we think of holidays and time with family and friends. This year, let’s get a jump start on those New Year’s plans and beat the crowds as a gift to ourselves! By starting earlier, you can actually get a lot farther on your spring and summer goals—also it’s a great outlet to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Father and Son opening presents
Recently, Dr. Pope Moseley wrote an article about what fitness really means. Dr. Moseley is executive vice chancellor and the dean of the College of Medicine at UAMS, but he also has an extensive background in exercise science and how it relates to our health care needs.

But what really defines “fitness”?

It’s true that fitness is generally associated with having a lower BMI and lower abdominal fat. Data clearly shows that being fit and lean is associated with improved markers for health such as having good cholesterol and glucose numbers, and the optimal health that comes with them.
Nonetheless, many studies on fitness point to the overriding importance of several key measures: your resting heart rate (RHR), your muscle mass and your muscle strength.
RHR is the number of beats your heart makes per minute while not exercising or exerting yourself. RHR varies from person to person and can be affected by many factors. You can learn more about RHR and how to determine yours on the American Heart Association (AHA) website. 
RHR has been found to be an independent risk factor for mortality. It’s a good window on your heart health and can signal current or emerging health problems. We can improve our RHR through – no surprise here – exercise. Exercise really is “good medicine.” 
If you would like to read more about the importance of muscle mass in reducing mortality, I recommend these articles in Underground Health ReporterScience Daily, and the American Journal of Cardiology.”

So now that we are ready to work toward being fit, let’s look at ways to ease into your exercise program.

Walking is a great way to start for most people because it’s something you can do anywhere and the best part is—it’s free! Check out this sample walking program from the UAMS Living Healthy website. 
Beginner Yoga or Pilates are two more great forms to start with if you find you have tight muscles, low core strength and joint pain. These two can help you build up and be ready for a weight lifting program or can be done in tangent with weight lifting to keep your pain at bay. 
Group exercise classes are another place to start your workout path. Why are classes so great? You are in a group setting and will meet more people to help you stay motivated. There are so many different classes now and they are not all cardio based. You can learn lifting techniques and get some instruction from a certified professional who is there to keep you safe. When beginning a class for the first time, greet the instructor and let them know it’s your first class. That will give them plenty of notice to watch you a little closer than their regular patrons until you are comfortable. 
Circuit training can be a gateway to lifting weights that will help keep your heart rate up while continuously moving (this can even be in a group setting!). Ask your gym today if they offer any circuit training or programs you can use on your own if your schedule won’t fit their class times.
Swimming or water classes can also be a great way to start out on a program if you haven’t exercised in a while or if you just really love the water. There are plenty of structured classes here in Little Rock, check out more information about that with the UAMS Water Wellness classes. If you find that you cannot make it to some of the classes, there are routines you can find online to do in your own time at your local pool. Recovering from injury and building strength and stamina are just a few benefits of working out in the water.
Personal training is another outlet for you if you feel uncomfortable with the gym setting or if you just want some one-on-one instruction to learn how to safely exercise and develop a program.
There are so many new and different ways to get into an exercise program; it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with so many choices. Take your time on deciding and no matter what you choose, start slow and listen to your body above all else. If you are not a beginner, all of these options still apply. If find something you like, you usually will stick with it longer.

December is a time for washing your hands, no really, wash your hands!

As it gets colder, we will all be indoors more and things like the common cold and flu can begin to spread if we aren’t diligently washing our hands. December 3-9 marks Handwashing Awareness Week this month. Check out more information from our article: Handwashing: Tips for Patients, Family, and Friends

Happy Healthy Holidays!

Holiday Meal
Outside cycling
December Events in Arkansas
14 - Foothills Trails Meeting   -  6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.      Clinton
16 - Mt Nebo Bench Trail 4M  9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.   Dardanelle
16 - Ouachita Gravel Grind -  8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.          Hot Springs Village
For more events in Arkansas, visit Arkansas Outside.
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