"Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise
program." Itís a caution that follows every infomercial for the
latest get-thin, get-toned gadget. But how many of us actually heed
an internal medicine physician at Springdale Primary Care Clinic in
Brookfield, says there are no clear-cut guidelines when it comes to
getting a doctorís approval to begin a workout regimen.
healthy people need little clearance," he says. But older people
or those with chronic health problems like a heart condition or
diabetes should definitely see a doctor before packing their gym bag.
who experience discomfort like joint pain or shortness of breath while
exercising should also consult a physician.
doctor before you start an exercise program is the first step to
physical fitness, says Obermyer. During an exercise readiness
assessment, a doctor will do a physical exam, take a comprehensive
health history and address any concerns you have.
fitness doesnít always prevent major health issues. Hans Wegesser of
Menomonee Falls knows that first-hand. The 50-year-old ultra-marathon
runner suffered a massive heart attack Sept. 4. Wegesser had just
crossed the finish line at the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Classic, a 10K
event in Sauk City, when he felt light chest pressure. Then he started
feeling dizzy and nauseous. His friends sought medical attention and
Wegesser was quickly transported to a local hospital.
"I had no
clue I was having a heart attack," Wegesser says.
Even after ER
staff told him he was being transferred to the University of Wisconsin
Hospital in Madison, Wegesser questioned the diagnosis. Surgeons
eventually inserted two stents in Wegesserís left interior
"I had 100
percent blockage on the left side of my heart," Wegesser says.
"The doctor told me they call that the Ďwidow-makerí in his
But before long,
Wegesser was walking the hospital corridors. At home, he began taking
several short walks a day. Just one week after his heart attack,
Wegesser was logging 25 miles on his bike.
five days in cardiac rehab before they kicked me out," he says.
"The cardiologist told me I was the healthiest patient heíd
his heart attack on his previous lifestyle of smoking two packs a day,
drinking and unhealthy eating.
my body for years," he says. Then 12 years ago, when his oldest
daughter turned 2, Wegesser quit smoking, dropped 80 pounds and took
up running, a sport heíd pursued in his teens and early 20s.
saved my life," he says.
back to trail running, Wegesser is careful to carry his nitro pills
with him and he purchased a heart rate monitor. Heís training for
the Ice Age trail run, a 50-mile trek through the Kettle Moraine State
Forest in May.
healthy eater and avid exerciser, the only major lifestyle change
Wegesser has had to make is giving up sweets. "My vice is ice
cream and donuts," says Wegesser.
But per his
doctorís instruction, Wegesser has replaced his beloved Edyís
Rocky Road with sherbet.
easy change," he says. And one his daughters are happy to help
six-pack abs start looking more like a beer barrel, suspension
training may be just the thing to firm up your core, says Dan Shay,
personal trainer at the Wisconsin Athletic Club in Wauwatosa.
training focuses on using repetition and balance," Shay says.
"Itís very versatile and can also be used as a full-body
for suspension training consists of two straps that hang from the
ceiling or the top of a wall. The muscles are engaged to retain
balance, and when you get really good at it, you can learn to do
really not complicated. Anyone can do it," Shay says.
He points out
that bench sit-ups, full sit-ups and leg raises are also tried and
true methods for whipping the core into shape.
"And a lot
of hip work," Shay adds. "The more you get your hips going,
the better your core will be."
To speed up
weight loss and firm up the core, Shay recommends Tabata training.
This workout is based on 30-second bursts of jumping jacks, sprints or
other extreme activity, followed by 10-seconds of low to moderate
exercise and another 30 seconds of high intensity movement. You donít
need a lot of equipment to whittle and shape your core, just the
determination to get up and work on it.
to kick the habit?
The benefits of
regular physical activity are numerous ó from a boost in energy,
better sleep and greater self-esteem. But can you err on the side of
too much exercise? Health professionals are seeing an increase in
people who exercise compulsively ó working out to the point where it
becomes an obsession.
exercising on their own are more likely to overexert themselves,"
says Bob Hanisch, a professional trainer and owner of Peak Performance
Professionals in Brookfield.
owner of Pulse Personal Training in Cedarburg, recognizes a pattern
when it comes to overdoing it. "I see it in black and white. A
person will go through intense exercise for a couple of months and
then they fall off the bandwagon," Gonwa says.
like Hanisch and Gonwa understand the need to build rest into an
exercise routine. Whether itís pushing yourself for two or three
weeks, then taking a week to recover or planning a day or two off as
part of your weekly exercise schedule, adequate rest is vital.
But too often
people donít plan recovery time as part of their workout, instead
continuing to increase the level of intensity,says Hanisch.
"We use to
have the mentality, Ďno pain, no gainí but as we get older it
takes longer to recover," says Gonwa.
So when does
commitment to exercise cross over to addiction? If you feel compelled
to exercise despite injury or illness, or choose the gym over family
and friends, youíre probably exercising excessively. Compulsive
exercisers often feel anxious when they canít work out. They can
also show signs of disrupted sleep patterns, elevated resting heart
rate and moodiness, adds Gonwa.
carries consequences. Compulsive exercisers are more prone to injury
and may begin withdrawing from others. "Youíre hurting yourself
in the long run by over exercising," says Hanisch. "Pounding
on your body without giving it a chance to recover is a big
everyone is different when it comes to exercise. You need to step back
and evaluate your life and find balance with your workout plan. And
you need to listen to your body. "When the body is breaking down,
but your mind is saying you need to exercise, then there may be a
problem," says Gonwa.
with people to develop a realistic view of their bodies. "We
teach them what will work for their body type,"he says.
So step back and
take a good look at yourself. Often over-exercisers find that changing
the intensity of their workout ó even cutting down on exercise ó
leads to better fitness overall.
"Hot off the Press" Smoothie at Outpost Natural
Get the powerful
nutrients of fresh fruits and vegetables without all the slicing and
dicing ó visit a juice bar, like The Green Kitchen at Milwaukee
Public Market and be prepared for an explosion of flavor. The Green
Kitchenís Rachel Sanders says the best juice bars serve pure, fresh
juice, without any additives, combined to nourish both body and soul.
Middelstaedt, spokeswoman for Outpost Natural Foods, says fresh juice
is loaded with antioxidants and macronutrients that are in fresh
fruits and vegetables, "and because youíre not cooking them,
they retain all their goodness. The vitality is really there for
Both Outpost and
The Green Kitchen have found that combining vegetables with fruit
produces a drink that is as tasty as it is nutritious.
sweetness of the fruits helps to bring out some of the vegetable
flavor," says Middlestaedt, "and sweetness helps to enhance
the earth tones in root vegetables."
The color alone,
especially in drinks made with beets, will brighten up a dismal day.
For a tropical punch on a winterís day, Sanders recommends the Pink
Flamingo, a citrusy concoction of orange, grapefruit, strawberry and
pineapple, or a Maui Waui, made with oranges, pineapple, banana and
If youíve got
the sniffles, give the Cold Killer a try. The base is fresh oranges,
spiked with honey, lemon, ginger and wheatgrass. Sanders says
wheatgrass is reputed to increase red blood cell counts, lower blood
pressure, provide helpful enzymes and amino acids and stimulate
digestion. Drinks made with fresh ginger are also beneficial to the
digestive system, Sanders says.
two recipes to try at home, but cautions they are best made with a
juicer and not a blender, which may result in too much pulpiness.
1 ripe banana
5-6 fresh strawberries
6 fresh oranges
Cut oranges in
half and squeeze out juice with a hand juicer. Put the banana through
the electric juicer first, followed by the strawberries and the orange
juice. Pour into a frosted mug and enjoy.
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled
1 stalk celery
Put the spinach
through the juicer first, followed by ginger, celery and apples.
Garnish with celery leaves and an apple slice if youíre feeling
Jim Morningstar and a client work on breathing techniques.
Breathing may be
simple, but itís not easy, says psychotherapist Jim Morningstar,
director of Transformations Inc., a therapeutic breathwork training
center in Milwaukee.
oneís breathing, knowing how to breathe more fully, freely and
functionally is one of the most simple and most effective ways to
regain or maintain your health," he says. "To change your
breathing pattern takes practice and coaching."
breathe at about 20 percent of capacity, Morningstar says, and the
cumulative effects of not getting enough oxygen into the body can lead
to a series of debilitating diseases.
therapeutic breathwork can help release tension that is stored in the
body, often as a result of an ingrained response to trauma. "Weíre
continually on Ďred alertí even when thereís no longer a
traumatic situation," he says. "We think weíre relaxed,
but weíre really in muscular tension."
The tension may
manifest itself as chronic anxiety, digestive issues, respiratory
problems or other physical maladies, Morningstar notes.
combines therapeutic breathwork with talk therapy to work on problems
from a physical, emotional and mental perspective. Itís not enough
to just teach someone how to breathe properly, he explains. Negative
or limiting thinking patterns have to be resolved as well, or they
will continue to reinforce the conditions that are at the root of
inadequate breathing. m
The best thing
about walking for your health, says Bob Corby, physical therapist and
co-owner of InStep Running and Walking Centers, is that there is
really no learning curve.
on your shoes, walk out the door and go," Corby advises. "Itís
just such a great exercise."
Not only is a
brisk walk good for the cardiovascular system, he notes, it also
benefits the joints, muscles and tendons and builds endurance. The
American Heart Association recommends that healthy people perform any
moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for at least 30
minutes on most days of the week at 50 to 85 percent of your maximum
heart rate. The half-hour of exercise can be divided into two
15-minute sessions for the time-challenged.
walking is similar to jogging in the amount of calories burned;
walking just takes a little longer.
off about 100 calories per mile walking and about 100 calories per
mile jogging. It takes about 15 minutes to walk a mile, and about 10
to 11 minutes to jog a mile," he says.
To minimize foot
problems, get fitted for the proper shoe for your body structure and
your style of walking.
percent of people who come in to buy walking shoes, we put them in
running shoes," he says. "There are just so many different
types of running shoes, you can really fine tune it."
If you choose to
take a morning stroll inside a shopping mall, Corby says there are
certain rules of etiquette to keep in mind. Stay to the right and be
advised that serious mall walkers tend to pace the entire perimeter of
the facility, including the side aisles. And stay well out of the way
of those walkers who consider their walk a race to the finish line.
Walk This Way
Heart Associationís startwalkingnow.org website offers free online
tools for walkers, including an activity log and a personalized
Hiking Club offers a regular series of organized walks throughout the
Milwaukee area. Many are 1.5-mile routes. For a calendar of upcoming
walks, go to wisconsingohiking.homestead.com.
Nature Center in Newburg schedules monthly hikes for walkers of
various abilities and interests. For information, go to http://riveredge.us.
reducing stress depend on what type of stress you may be experiencing,
says psychologist Frank Urtz of Clear Direction Psychological
Stop a cycle of
worry and negative thinking by interrupting it. Call a friend to talk
about something completely unrelated, and youíre more likely to
break the circuit of stressful thoughts.
worried about the possibility of losing a job, make a realistic
assessment of the probabilities, Urtz says. If a layoff is imminent,
take control of the situation by evaluating your options. Begin
networking, update your resume, perhaps consider a career change. The
key is to control the things you can control.
resulted in many workers doing the tasks that used to be done by two,
three or sometimes even more staff members. Work with your boss to set
project priorities. Take a close look at how your time is spent at
work and you may be able to find ways to manage your workload more
manifests itself with physical symptoms, such as lack of sleep or
appetite, Urtz usually suggests a physical remedy. That could be
relaxation training such as guided imagery, an exercise regimen, yoga,
rhythmic breathing, stretching or simply walking.
stress often compensate by eating sugary foods and drinking things
that make the situation even more upsetting, Urtz says. Opt for
lower-calorie meals and snacks and curb caffeine and alcohol use to
help reduce stress levels.
fans of locally grown produce are reviving the traditional arts of
food preservation to enjoy the bounty of the growing season well into
Wisconsin winters. But, warns master gardener Kathy Awe of Cedarburg,
be careful to follow proper techniques or there may be nasty
Herbs are easy
to preserve, Awe says. For optimum flavor, pick them in bunches before
they begin to bloom, loop a rubber band around the stems and hang them
in a warm, dry place. Herbs like tarragon and rosemary, grown
organically, can also be added to bottles of vinegar, allowing time
for their flavors to seep into the liquid. Transfer the infused
vinegar into an attractive glass container, discarding the herbs, and
use in salad dressings.
Awe says a
simple way to preserve fresh vegetables like corn, green beans and
Brussels sprouts is to blanche them in boiling water ó use a chart
to determine blanching time for each variety of vegetable ó and
freeze them. Blanching kills the enzymes that cause vegetables to
spoil, Awe explains. Onions and peppers donít need blanching, she
advises, but make sure theyíre clean before freezing.
berries, put them on a cookie sheet, and freeze them, Awe suggests.
Once frozen, drop them in a freezer bag and put them back in the
freezer. When you need to use them, they wonít come out of the bag
in one big icy lump.
vegetables, including tomatoes, can be preserved by dehydration.
Follow the instructions on a commercial dehydrator, or simply put the
produce on a cookie sheet in a very low oven, set at 200 degrees or
less. Oven dehydration can take up to 12 hours or longer, Awe says,
but may be worth the wait: "Plums and apples are wonderful
Canning is a
more complicated method of preserving food, and requires squeaky clean
jars, new jar lids and clean utensils. There aretwo methods, Awe
notes, hot water bath canning and the pressure cooker method.
water bath is much easier, and is used for vegetables that are pickled
in vinegar or things like fruit in a simple syrup," she says.
"If you want to can just a plain vegetable like beans carrots, or
cauliflower, youíll have to do it in a pressure cooker."
that canners should carefully follow guidelines issued by universities
and university extensions to preserve food safely and avoid botulism.
The UW-Extension offers classes in canning and UW-Madison occasionally
has Master Food Preserver courses.
For the tips on
safely canning and preserving food, go to www.foodsafety.wisc.edu.
Maximize your workout and weight-loss by choosing the best foods
carbs are key factors when it comes to good nutrition ó and getting
the most out of your workout regime.
biggest thing for people starting out are the foods they need to
avoid," says Elise Trasser, a traditional naturopath at Serenity
in Waukesha. "When eating carbs, your body thinks it has lots of
energy, but itís just sugar. Protein balances the blood sugar and
regulates it. You will crash after a certain amount of minutes if you
eat too many carbs," says Trasser.
Both Trasser and
Bernie Rosen, a nutrition consultant and educator with Rosen Wellness
in Thiensville, agree regulating your blood sugar is a key component
to balancing nutrition and exercise.
Many people eat
carbs for breakfast, which is quick energy, says Rosen. "We get
into this mode, and thatís what we fuel on." Proteins and fat
will burn longer and steadier. Says Trasser, "Small amounts of
protein throughout the day are important. I recommend 2 to 3 ounces at
educated on how to fuel your body can be the downfall for many
beginner athletes. "Exercise alone is not enough," Rosen
says. "In the short term, you will see results, then hit a
plateau and stop going to the health club. This is where diet is so
If you are
looking to lose weight, cut back on grains, says Rosen. And donít
forget to fuel pre and post workout. Antioxidants, for example, repair
free radicals that are circulating in the body from exercise, says
Trasser. "Donít be afraid to eat, but eat the right
foods," says Rosen. "How you feel is the key. A lot of
people arenít in tune with their own bodies; you forget how it feels
to feel vibrant."
Itís best to
train you body to eat something in the morning before exercise or over
time, your adrenal glands will be shot, Trasser says.
forget about proper hydration, warns Rosen. "It is advisable to
drink 16 to 20 ounces of water one to two hours before a
A protein powder
smoothie with blueberries is the perfect way to start the day before
exercise, as it helps regulate your blood sugar and aids in tissue
repair. For your post-workout recovery, grab a protein-rich snack
within the first 45 minutes after your workout.
food tips from Elise Trasser and Bernard Rosen
sweet potato and squash over white potato.
turkey over chicken.
good fats such as almond butter, coconut oil, olive oil and fish
oil; Trasserís favorite fish oil is Nordic Naturals due to its
carbs for race gear up are cantaloupe, peaches and bananas.
brown rice pasta over wheat pasta.
full-fat yogurt not low fat or fat free and add your own fruit
leafy greens like kale, collard, mustard, spinach and chard into
shakes using whey or brown rice protein, nuts or nut butters,
hummus or eggs.
carrot sticks could also be eaten with nut butters or hummus.
2 cups quick oats
1/4 cup golden ground flax meal/seed
3/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses
1 cup dried fruit of choice (dates, cranberries, raisins)
3/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
ingredients, form into bars and freeze.
Trasser shares suggestions for healthy meals and snacks.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with almonds and berries of choice ( blueberries,
strawberries, raspberries); organic low-fat or whole milk yogurt. Do
away with skim milk options. Yogurt supplies more calcium, protein and
potassium than milk.
High-density nutrition whole food protein bars or whey protein
smoothie; sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Standard Process in
Palmyra makes an excellent protein bar you can purchase through a
Lunch: Turkey wrap with sprouts, avocado and a mustard condiment. Add
a pomegranate or kiwi when in season.
Dinner: Whole grain brown rice pasta, navy or white beans, grilled
chicken or salmon, and sweet potato mashed, baked or as homemade
Dinner: Rib-eye steak, salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with
pomegranate seeds and a grapefruit.