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Exercise pre

May 18, 2010
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE - Getting into shape for the summer isn't as simple as just jumping on a treadmill.

Beginners or people who may not have exercised for a while run the risk of hurting themselves while working out if they are not careful.

Jenna Zdunek, health and wellness director for the YMCA in Marquette, said starting out slow and setting realistic goals are two keys to exercise for beginners.

Article Photos

Monday’s warm temperatures and sunny skies enticed people outside in Marquette. Above, Cari, left, and Chelsea Detmers of Marquette stretch their legs after their run. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)

"Some people start and they say 'I'm going to work out seven days, I'm going to come in here for two hours a day' and they're going to get completely burnt out," Zdunek said.

Warming up prior to working out and cooling down afterward are also important parts of exercise. Zdunek said people should spend at least 10 minutes doing this.

She said before starting exercise people should take the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.

"It's a list of seven questions," she said. "A lot of hospitals use this, a lot of gyms. If you answer 'yes' to any of the seven questions you're supposed to get a medical clearance from a doctor."

The PAR-Q questions are:

A certain amount of discomfort during exercise is normal as is feeling sore after a workout. However certain symptoms - pain or pressure in the left or middle part of the chest or in the left side of the neck, shoulder or arm, dizziness or sickness, cold sweat, muscle cramps, sharp pain in the joints or an irregular or fluttering heartbeat - can be warning signs that something is wrong. If these problems are experienced, it's best to slow down and let your heart rate to drop gradually. In cases of severe and sudden pain, stop immediately and see a doctor.

Zdunek said it was important to choose a gym where people can feel comfortable asking questions of the staff.

Another question she's often asked is what clothes should be worn while exercising. She recommended shoes with strong support and comfortable clothing.

Getting into shape is not just a spending time at the gym, either, she said, it's also eating right.

"If you're going to try to have a healthy lifestyle you have to do both, exercise and eating healthy. It doesn't work to do one or the other. So drinking a lot of water is really important when they're exercising ... and then also just eating a healthy diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy," Zdunek said.

A relatively new trend is for families to go to the gym together, she said. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the childhood obesity rate for children aged 6 to 11 in 2008 was 19.6 percent. The rate among adolescents aged 12 to 19 was 18.1 percent.

"We're seeing more and more families joining that are here at night. The kids are in the kid's gym and the parents are working out," she said.

Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His e-mail address is



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