Physical Therapy Advice: Starting An Exercise Program

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
free weights
Photo Credit: Zachary Long (CC-BY-NC)

Spring is a great time to get active and start a new exercise routine. Larry Meiller’s guest physical therapists offer advice on getting started, plus tips for modifying your routine if pain and discomfort develop.

Featured in this Show

  • Starting An Exercise Routine? Experts Say 'Don't Overdo It'

    Starting an exercise routine can introduce a number of unfamiliar movements and stressors to the body, but two experts say it’s easy to avoid injury so long as you’re careful.

    Whether starting a new activity or picking up an old one after taking a break for a few months, it’s important to start small, according to Bill Boissonnault, senior physical therapist at the Spine Physical Therapy Clinic of University of Wisconsin Health in Madison.

    “Start at a reduced intensity — maybe a reduced distance or time frame — and over a period of a few weeks, start building up to where you were before and there’s much less chance of injury,” he said.

    Lori Thein Brody, a physical therapist and athletic trainer with UW Health, recommends thinking of exercise in terms of three variables: frequency, intensity and duration. When tinkering with a workout, she said people can play around with these variables, but she advised not to change too many variables at once.

    “You may start out with a lower duration or a lower intensity and do a frequency of every other day, and if you want to pick it up, you can either increase the duration a little bit, or you can step up the pace a little bit, or you can do it more frequently, but you shouldn’t do all three at once,” she said.

    The American College of Sports Medicine currently recommends that people get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise four to five days a week. Thein Brody said that doesn’t necessarily mean biking or running for 35 minutes. Rather, the activities can be a “cafeteria menu” of things that include balance, flexibility, weight training, and cardio-respiratory exercise “that are both longer duration/lower intensity or shorter duration/higher intensity,” such as yoga, high-intensity interval training, or even golf.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer
  • Lori Thein Brody Guest
  • Bill Boissonnault Guest

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