One of the most common New Year’s resolutions Iowans make is to get in better shape. Dr. Kurt Van Veldhuizen, a certified sports medicine chiropractor in Johnston, says he’s a big fan of realistic resolutions that get people exercising. “They’re excellent,” Van Veldhuizen says. “The more movement we have, the more people are being responsible for their own health, the less we have to hear about it in the media. I always encourage people to get up and be as active as they can.” He says the road to good health involves physical fitness and nutrition, but don’t try to take on too much at once.
“A routine is the key here,” Dr. Van Veldhuizen says. “You have to start off real slow by doing something at the same time every day. It doesn’t have to be at 5 o’clock every day but the same time slot during that day’s period of time so you know you can fit it in.” He says the phrase of “no pain, no gain” doesn’t need to apply. If you take on hard-core exercises when you’re not ready for them, you’ll likely be hurting afterwards and that can derail the whole process. He says to build up your endurance gradually.
“Start with proper nutrition and hydration,” Van Veldhuizen says. “The big thing is remembering this is a marathon, it’s not a sprint. If we go into this 100%, we’re going to burn ourselves out within a couple of weeks. It’s going to hurt and we’re going to hate every second of it. If we go a little bit slower, take our time, start with stability, then get some aerobic conditioning in and from there, start to build the strength.”
He suggests halves when drinking water — if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water per day. When it comes to food, eat lean meats, fresh vegetables, limited fruits, little starch, nuts, seeds and no sugar. Caloric intake should be enough to support exercise levels, but not enough to encourage body fat. Also, he says spread your meals out, eat 5 to 6 times per day if you’re exercising.