Class explores importance of fitness
HAMMONTON - It was all about fitness on Nov. 8 at Stockton University Kramer Hall where health educator Luanne Anton talked about the importance of fitness and lead a gentle yoga session.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something,” said Anton, who has been involved in fitness for most of her adult life and is a health educator at Stockton University’s main campus. While the subject of fitness is one that is vast and deep, Anton’s main goal last week was to provide some basic information and tips on beginning or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
One of Anton’s first tips was to write down your goals. According to Anton, written goals have an 85 percent better chance of being accomplished because they help give something concrete to work towards.
However, Anton is well aware that fitting in any workout can be challenging when one has a busy schedule, which is why her next tip was to break your exercise into increments.
“Any small increments are valuable,” she said, and just exercising some at the end of the day is better than doing nothing at all.
Anton also emphasized how it is possible to workout with whatever you have on hand. To support this view, she told an anecdote about how one time she and a class of hers were not able to get to the gym on the main campus of Stockton University and so they used soup cans as weights for their arm exercises.
Anton also talked about how the ideal heart rate for working out varies based on age and physical condition, but that it plays an important role in fitness. For some, staying in the targeted heart rate zone may have to be something that is built up to.
“Don’t be discouraged if you can only get your heart rate up to the target zone for two or three minutes at first,” said Anton.
Also, strength training is important — especially for women who tend to shy away from it out of fear of bulking up.
“You are never going to look like a bodybuilder, you do not have the testosterone,” said Anton to the women in attendance. Strength training is also important when it comes to aging as it helps prevent injuries. For example, “weak muscles cannot hold knees in place,” she said.
Beginning any type of fitness program can be intimidating and with all of the information out there it can be hard to know where to start, which is why Anton suggests working with a trainer. However, she stressed the importance of finding a qualified trainer by checking their credentials and making sure they have a thorough knowledge of how the body works and anatomy.
According to Anton, once exercise becomes a part of your lifestyle, it will become an essential part of your well-being. “Once you start to feel the benefits of exercise, it will not feel good not to do it,” she said.
After her lecture, Anton — who is also a certified yoga instructor — did a brief yoga session with attendees that focused on letting go of stress and stretching. Letting go or finding ways to cope with stress is an essential part of a person’s overall well-being.
As Anton made clear, it is important to go at your own pace in any exercise routine and it is perfectly acceptable to test different classes and instructors to see what fits you best. And be sure to consult a doctor before any lifestyle change or exercise program.