As Valerie Bertinelli's personal trainer, Christopher Ross Lane helped the actress lose 50 pounds, run the Boston Marathon and get back into bikini shape. And as a back-up trainer on the hit reality show The Biggest Loser, Lane has helped numerous contestants go from being sedentary to living an active lifestyle. While there are many cardiac risk factors you can't change, leading a sedentary lifestyle is one risk factor that you can. We asked Lane to share his best tips for getting fit and staying active.
Start slow. Lane has transformed many of his clients from couch potatoes into avid runners. Valerie Bertinelli admits she never thought she would be a runner, but four days before her 50th birthday in June 2010, the actress finished the Boston Marathon in five hours and 14 minutes. “Walking is an amazing way to begin a regular fitness routine,” Lane says. “If you haven't exercised regularly, start out by walking around the block and time yourself, then try to beat that time on your next walk. Work your way up to two blocks, then three, starting off walking for two days a week, and then making a goal of walking 30 minutes each day.”
Find a friend. “I'm a big fan of walking buddies,” says Lane, who not only helped prepare Bertinelli for the Boston Marathon but also ran the race with her. “My dad used to walk regularly with a neighbor and it motivated him to walk on days when he was tempted to stay home.” As an added bonus, having a walking buddy can also make exercising fun. “I have a friend who told me she just got back from an hour WOOPing,” Lane says with a laugh. “I asked her what that meant and she said, ‘Walking Out Our Problems.’” Good advice, since a study conducted at Temple University and published in the January 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that a brisk walking routine can reduce a variety of psychological symptoms such as anxiety, stress and depression.
Set goals. Lane showed Bertinelli and many of his other clients that they could become runners at any age. “I had one client who could only do 30 seconds of walking on the treadmill when we first started working together,” he says. “Today, she regularly runs for an hour on the treadmill.” To get to that point, Lane suggests starting out slowly and working up to a slow jog for 30 seconds, then going back to walking. Slowly increase your jogging time with walking intervals. “Set goals for yourself,” Lane says. “Maybe that means getting some friends and entering a 5K race for charity; you don't have to run the entire distance, you can alternate walking with running. The point is you're doing it.” One example of an activity that's fun and you can do with friends and family is the American Heart Association's Heart Walks. Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that's fun and rewarding for the entire family. This year, more than 1 million walkers will participate in nearly 350 events. For more information, visit startwalkingnow.org.
Christopher Ross Lan...Image Tools
Dump the excuses. As a personal trainer, Lane has heard the gamut of excuses that people give for not getting regular exercise. “I know it can be hard to fit exercise into a busy schedule or to not want to exercise because you don't feel good, but you can't expect to see results or achieve good health with excuses,” he says. For busy parents and grandparents, Lane suggests packing little ones in a stroller or taking the time to engage in physical family activities rather than watching television together. “Think of what a good example you're setting by showing children the importance of regular exercise,” he says. “Childhood obesity is a huge issue right now, so you're not only spending time with your kids, you're also giving them the gift of good health.”
Those with cardiovascular disease should talk with their physician before beginning a walking or exercise program. For those who have arthritis or are recovering from injuries, Lane recommends water workouts. “My mom recently had a double knee replacement and she is enjoying the benefits of an aqua aerobics class,” he says. Because of the conditioning effect the water provides, exercising in water provides a good workout for those at risk of bodily stress, who are elderly, overweight or those recovering from soft-tissue injuries. In addition to aqua aerobics, more swimming pools and gyms are offering classes such as Water Boxing and Aqua Step, giving participants low-impact workouts that burn fat and build endurance.
© 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.