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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Physical Fitness During COVID


Our lives have shifted since COVID pandemic.  Exercise can be challenging while distancing from others and not having the same resources, such as access to a gym or gym equipment.  If you've tried to order exercise equipment lately you may have noticed much is out of stock and difficult to attain.  Walking through my neighborhood I've observed (sidewalk yoga and kettlebell sessions, driveway jump-roping, tai chi in the park) and heard of creative ways to exercise.  During this time we need activity and exercise not just for the physical health benefits but for its mood elevating effects, and ability to reduce sensitivity to aches and pain (for all you desk jockeys or couch surfers).

I thought it would be helpful to provide some ideas for staying active and you may have some creative tips to add to the list as well.  If you have health conditions or are uncertain about starting an exercise program consider getting prior approval from your doctor.  As with any exercise don't go full out in the beginning, this can lead to injuries and extreme soreness, leading to a bad experience and hindering future attempts with these new activities.  Be gentle and ramp-up gradually

Cardiovascular Exercise

These are activities that raise your heart rate for period of time.  Try for at least 20 minutes or more of cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week.  If you're unable to do the full 20 minutes, break it up into two 10 minute sessions.  Especially important for those working from home or binge watching your favorite programs.  Take breaks to move, your body will thank you!

  • Running & Walking - This requires very little equipment besides a good pair of supportive shoes.  Find a place where you can distance and walk or run safely.  If you're new to walking or running gradually ramp-up to allow your body to adapt.  There's nothing wrong with run-walks alternating running with walking or alternate days of walking for running to allow your body a chance to recover.  You turn distancing into a game by changing directions, jumping to the side, or adjusting your path on the fly while avoiding others.  Consider having your gait and posture assessed to prior to taking on a walking or running program in order to create an efficient and comfortable experience.  Additionally, an assessment may prevent poor habits that may lead to long-term injuries or imbalances.  As the weather changes, having some good waterproof clothing can make all the difference in comfort for outdoor activities.

  • Hiking - Hiking takes a little more planning to find the right trail for your fitness level.  And with COVID restrictions, finding a trail that isn't too crowded for distancing.  You may need to have back-up options for trails if the one you've chosen is over-crowded.  Make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes.  Be prepared, with any hike into the wilderness let others know where you are going, carry food, water, extra clothing for weather changes and a first aid kit.

  • Biking - Safety is most important when biking.  If you're dusting off an old bike that's been stored for a while, take it to a bike shop to have it checked out before hopping on.  Many bike shops have appointment-only and distanced service.  Ride with a good helmet, a bike light/reflector when there's less sunshine or you need to be more visible, bike shorts can prevent saddle soreness and carry water for longer distances.  If it's been a while since you've ridden, find an empty parking lot to practice turning, shifting gears and braking.  Check out bike maps for streets with bike lanes and fewer cars.  Always watch for cars, and follow the traffic signs and signals.

  • Indoor Activities - Exercise videos are great alternatives for when the weather changes or if you've isolating at home.  Streaming services have videos, websites like and have a variety of free videos.  Make sure the video classes are given by credentialed fitness trainers or you could put yourself at risk for injury.  As a reminder, ramp-up with any new exercise program and never do anything that causes injury or pain.  Exercise has a certain amount of discomfort but you should be able to get out of bed or off the coach the next day.  Other suggestions for indoor activities: do intervals up and down your stairs, use a treadmill, a jump rope, hook-up a bike trainer to an outdoor bike or use a stationary bike, all are good forms of cardiovascular exercise.

Strength Training

Strength training tones and builds muscles, and strong bones.  Plan for 2-3 days a weeks for strength training.  Exercise muscle groups on alternating days, never on consecutive days to allow the muscle to repair and recovery.  As stated in the News below, it helps to maintain or gain muscle and bone mass during weight loss.

  • Body Weight - Push-ups (with hands on the floor/wall/counter top), sit-ups, squats, lunges can all be performed without weights or equipment.

  • Resistance - Transitioning to using weights or some sort of resistance can add a level of challenge and variety.  Water bottles and cans that you have around the house can add resistance.  Alternatively, resistance tubing and bands can be purchased at many different locations.  These don't take up much space and are easily stored.  If you can find them or already have them, dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells are another source of weighted resistance (a little more challenging to find in stock at this time).

  • Sample Exercises - Refer to the ACE exercise library for some sample exercises for strength/resistance training.

Try to perform a variety cardiovascular and strength training exercises each week to get the most benefit and keep it interesting.  If you're having a hard time getting started, injuring yourself or staying motivated consider contacting a personal trainer to help out.

Here are few reasons to visit with a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: relieve tension and stress in the body, properly train or progress in an activity, improve your microbiome, assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through evidence-based diet, and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet.


Muscle & Bone Loss with Dieting
A recent study on weight loss measured the results of reduced calorie dieting on muscle and bone loss.  Those who lost weight by diet alone lost both bone density and muscle mass.  When a reduced calorie diet is combined with strength training or strength + aerobic training the bone density and muscle mass was improved or maintained compared with a diet-only plan.  This study supports the need for a well-rounded approach to weight loss with diet, strength training and aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise.

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 15 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise, senior fitness and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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