girl exercising on bike

Get in Shape in 2021

by Dr. Ryan Stempniak, Resident PGY 1- Heuser Family Medicine Center

The new year is here which means New Years resolutions. For many of us that means introducing more exercise into our daily routine. Due to the pandemic, going to the gym may not be the ideal choice of exercise for a lot of people so I wanted to share some safe ways to get back into shape and provide some information to help you feel safer and healthier in this new year.

Tips for getting in shape:

  • The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or both spread throughout the week. This equates to about 20-25 minutes per day of walking or riding a bike, or 10-15 minutes of running, hiking uphill, fast walking or swimming per day.
  • For school aged children and teens the recommendation is 60 minutes of moderate-intensity to vigorous exercise per day, and for toddlers about 3 hours of active play on their feet each day.
  • Although being outdoors may pose less of a risk of contracting COVID 19, remember to keep at least 6 feet apart from others while exercising and wearing a mask while exercising may better prevent spread through aerosolized particles. Avoid crowds and close contact with others and take advantage of the beautiful Arizona weather and countless walking trails throughout the valley.
  • According to the American Heart Association, CDC, and Mayo Clinic, physical activity can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy. It can also improve sleep, memory, bone health, balance and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Strength training or lifting weights can help strengthen your muscles and bones and prevent falls and osteoporosis. Some weight replacements that can be used around the house include canned goods, gallons of milk, laundry detergent or bottles of water. Also remember to assist your bone health by enjoying some of that Arizona sunlight which provides Vitamin D, and spend 10-20 minutes daily in sunlight (while wearing SPF 15 sunscreen or higher of course).
  • Be sure to contact your primary care provider for additional tips on how to get fit this new year and how to find the right exercise plan for you. Ask your provider about additional diet tips from our wonderful Nutrition team at your next visit as well.

Although 2020 has been an unprecedented year, there is hope on the horizon with the new vaccine. Continuing to wear masks, washing hands, and social distancing will ultimately be our best bet to a safer and healthier 2021. For more information about Arizona’s current COVID numbers, precautions, restrictions and more, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services Coronavirus page.

I hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and exciting new year!