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Local Expert Series: Overcoming Your Exercise Fears

Categories: Fitness, Well-being

Local Expert Series: Overcoming Your Exercise Fears

By: Dan Curtis, PT, DPT, MTC

My previous posts have defined exercise and physical activity, provided the recommended amounts and intensity of physical activity, and provided information on different types of exercise.

The next question is then: “How do I start?”

Often this is a barrier for someone to increasing their activity level or starting an exercise program.  They don’t know where to start, they are scared they will get hurt or not know what to do, and they make excuses for why they are unable to increase their physical activity.

Breaking Down Barriers

Here are some recommendations to help break down some of those barriers:

  • Start out with something easy. Go for a walk around the block or take a bike ride with your kids.
  • Do something you enjoy. If you like to dance, sign up for dance lessons, or join a social group that offers a variety of dance classes.
  • Join a class at a fitness facility. Many facilities offer classes for a variety of experience levels.  Read the description of each class, find something you may enjoy and pick a class at the appropriate experience or intensity level.
  • Get a buddy. One of the most effective ways to start an exercise program — as well as sticking with one — is to exercise with a friend or family member. You can motivate each other and help each other achieve your individual goals.
  • Set realistic goals. If you have a goal of losing weight, set goals for a realistic amount in a realistic time frame.  Setting a goal that is too lofty can lead to frustration and derail you from increasing your activity level.
  • Seek help. Do you have a medical condition you feel is preventing you from being more active? Are you concerned with how increasing your activity level and exercise may affect your medical condition?  Discuss these concerns with your physician and ask for their help with your goal of increasing physical activity.
  • Do you have difficulty moving? Do you have pain that limits your movement or mobility?  Make an appointment to see a physical therapist.  Physical therapists are experts in movement.  If you feel there is something preventing you from becoming more active or limiting your mobility, a physical therapist can assist you in decreasing pain, increasing your mobility and more.

Get Started

Increasing your physical activity and starting to exercise doesn’t have to be a scary thing.  Often the most challenging thing is getting started in the first place.  Using the above tips can help you break down the barriers to becoming more active and lead you to a healthier stronger you.

About the Author

Dan is the outpatient supervisor for Orlando Health-Health Central Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services department.  He joined the department in 2008 with his responsibilities consisting of patient care and administrative duties.  Prior to joining the team he served in a variety of managerial and supervisory roles.  Dan is responsible for oversight of a department of 10 team members, consisting of a multi-disciplinary staff of clinicians (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists) as well as front office and support staff.  He is the coordinator of all student interns and volunteers within the department.

Dan has over 16 years of experience as a clinician, the majority of his practice being in the outpatient and sports medicine setting.  During his time with Health Central he has focused on growing programs and services, initiatives focused on quality of care, improving patient access to rehabilitative care, and implementation of an electronic documentation system for which he serves as the administrator.

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