Fitness Strategies for the Whole Family (cont.)

tenuli_WebMD: Can a sports medicine doctor help design a fitness program that would be safe for an asthmatic to do?

Dr. Feldner: Yes, most certainly. One thing to check though, is it a primary care sports medicine doctor (as opposed to an orthopedic surgeon), and are they adequately trained and credentialed (as any other type of physician you would see).

picksie_WebMD: Are there any fitness clubs or rec areas in St. Louis that have family sports activities?

Dr. Feldner: I don't know of any specific ones other than YMCA. I do know many municipalities have summer programs for family activates. I'm sure there are many around. I would check with your city's parks and recreation department. There are also many different sports leagues (baseball, softball, volleyball) and many of these may be family oriented.

Moderator: Do hospitals sometimes offer fitness programs? Might insurance cover some of those?

Dr. Feldner: Good point! Most insurance companies now recognize the importance of fitness in preventing disease. Many of them offer some type of program. One I know of offers partial reimbursement for joining a health club, while others offer discounted rates. Some actually have their own programs. Call your insurance customer service department or your local hospital to see what they offer.

Moderator: What are some of the more common injuries people suffer when trying to start a fitness program? How can they be avoided?

Dr. Feldner: Mostly, when starting out, people tend to overdo things. Start slow, and as you feel comfortable, gradually increase your activity. Most injuries are overuse (sore muscles, tendonitis) and can be avoided by stretching before the activity, and icing any painful or sore areas after the activity. It's always important to see your physician PRIOR to starting an exercise program, especially if you've been sedentary or have any health problems.

Moderator: What role does diet play in a family fitness program?

Dr. Feldner: A good diet is always important regardless of exercise. Of, course the benefits of combining both a proper diet and exercise are exponential. In other words, you should do both!

tenuli_WebMD: Thank you, Dr. Feldner. By the way, what is a DO?

Dr. Feldner: DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. We basically have the same medical training as MD's but we have a holistic approach to treating patients. There is some great and more detailed information at the American Osteopathic Association web site at www.aoa-net.org

Moderator: Can you please summarize the keys points of putting together a fun family fitness program?

Dr. Feldner: Sure.

1. Do something fun and enjoyable.

2. Try different things, different activities, or different walking paths.

3. Try to do something regularly.

4. Be safe in your activities.

5. Incorporate a healthy diet.

Moderator: We are almost out of time. Dr. Feldner, do you have any final comments for our members?

Dr. Feldner: Thanks for the time and to those who participated. I've enjoyed it and hope people have learned something and that we've helped a few people to get on their way to a more healthy lifestyle.

Moderator: Thank you, Dr. Feldner, for joining us today. You've been great. We would love to have you back again.

Dr. Feldner: Thanks, I would be happy to come back.

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