Mary O. Wykle, Ph.D., ATRIC

These encompass the expanded idea of health. The goal is optimal health that is achievable through fitness-related activities, nutrition, stress reduction, and knowledge of the importance of making positive choices.
Fitness and Health Assessment
The first step in starting a physical activity program is to know your current level of physical fitness. Current health assessment determines whether you are ready to begin a program at a gym, a personal trainer, or if you need a medically supervised program. The fitness assessment looks at your current level of activity including cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Fitness Swimming
Swimming laps is an overall body conditioner. Two requirements are necessary: correct stroke technique and gradually building distance. Fitness swimming takes minimal equipment. It can be done alone, with a group of friends, or on a team. Great motivator is to come with a prepared workout. Most pools and swim clubs have staff more than willing to help you get started.
Mat Pilates
Pilates instruction on a mat are extremely popular classes. Pilates exercises emphasize precise, controlled movements centered around the "powerhouse." The powerhouse includes the muscles of the abdominals, especially the transverse abdominis, lower back and pelvic area. The breath is essential in each movement. The body provides the resistance to develop strength. The movements are geometric in form and result in correcting muscle imbalances and range of motion. I recommend one-on-one training to begin learning Pilates from a certified instructor.
Nutrition Counseling
Obesity, overweight, and lack of physical activity are creating a host of medical problems today. Knowledge of food selection, portion versus serving sizes, and popular diet plans and supplements are a first step in wise steps to take toward healthy eating.
Step Aerobics
Using one or two blocks under a platform and stepping up and down in various patterns to a moderate musical beat is a popular cardiorespiratory workout. Body alignment, arm swing, proper footwear, plus the step on a non-slip surface are key to an injury-free workout. Step aerobics are not recommended for anyone with knee problems. Heart rate needs to be monitored for all.
Walking Programs
Walking is probably the easiest and most accessible mode of cardiorespiratory exercise. All you need are sturdy walking shoes, and a safe place to walk. Routes can be varied, intervals added to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, and hills add additional challenges. Proper body position and arm swing are key. Most recommend walking a 15-20 minute mile, but for some, it will take time to meet these goals. Set your own personal goal.
Weight Management
Whether trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain our current weight, two essential requirements are needed - maintaining a food diary and an exercise log. The food diary lets us see where we need to make changes, why we eat, where we eat, and how often we eat. We see how food is prepared. We look at the food groups and what is often missing in our food selection. The exercise log tracks our physical activity and helps in determining if we are taking in adequate nutrients or too many. Weight management includes what we eat and how we exercise.
Weight Training
The importance of strength training is becoming more apparent in maintaining muscle mass and preventing physical decline. We do not mean going to the extreme of some body builders. We gradually lose muscle mass by our early 40's. Losing strength, we will eventually lose our ability to live independently. Maintaining or building basic muscle mass also increases our metabolism and assists in weight management.
Thousands of years old, yoga is more popular today that at any other time. Westerners practice mainly Hatha Yoga referring to a series of postures. Using the breath enables movement and positioning that increases strength and range or motion. These are not the objectives of yoga, but most practitioners become believers because of this. Meditation, stress relief, body alignment, and mindfulness are desired outcomes. Find the style of yoga that appeals to you, then locate an instructor you trust to assist with proper positioning and no forcing into body positions you are not ready to try. No and respect your own limits. One-on-one or small group sessions are ideal for the beginner.
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