(Courtesy of SMGH) “May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month,” said George Matyjewicz, PhD, Community Liaison at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic. What better time to get in shape for the coming summer and get out of the doldrums of another locked-in winter! Since we have all had a relatively inactive winter, perhaps you can use this month to fold regular exercising back into your routine or push yourself to conquer new challenges.”
Here are some thoughts on how to get back into exercising.
Simple exercise for starters:
Rather than drive to shul each morning, walk, as you do on Shabbat. Better yet, also walk to shul for Mincha/Maariv! You can walk fast to shul, and slowly on the way home. Even if you only do it once a week (other than Shabbat) that’s a start!
Sign up for a road race:
Running is the perfect way to get or stay active, and this is a great running month. As the weather warms up and the trails shed any last vestiges of snow or ice, now is the time to get out there and start making miles. To keep yourself motivated, sign up for a road race. The Passaic-Clifton kehila has a 5K race in Third Ward Park every Chanukah. And there are other road race events throughout Northern New Jersey in the spring and summer. Memorial Day weekend is an especially popular time for these kinds of events. Look for one near you. If you are just getting into running, a 5K or 10K race is a good challenge. If you’ve been running for a while, test your boundaries with a marathon or a half marathon. Either way, have fun!
“Running is a great way to stay in shape at any age,” said Matyjewicz. “And even if you haven’t run before, get out to a 5K which often has slow runners or walkers. Ed Condit, our CEO, is a big running fan. I did the Chanukah 5K two years in a row, running with Mufasa, our 200 lb. Boerboel. I have been under-exercised for the past 5 years, so this year I signed up for Runnergize1 to get back into running. And Mufasa joins me!”
Join a local sports group:
Getting into fitness can be a terrific way to meet people and make new friends. Look for a sports group, team or league near you that appeals to your talents and interests. Depending on where you live, you could have a wide range of options available to you, some competitive (like soccer or ultimate Frisbee leagues) and some not-so-competitive (local biking or running groups). Either way, getting involved with a group will help you stay motivated because you’ll be accountable to others as well as yourself.
Pick out a cool place to hike:
Sometimes, getting active can be as simple as taking a walk in the woods. Set aside some time on Shabbat or Sunday for a hike. Or research cool hiking spots like recreational trails or nature reserves or parks. Or walk around your community, where you will learn more and meet new people! Just get out there, hike a few miles, and enjoy the scenery.
“One of our board of directors members walks 10,000 steps a day with his wife,” said Matyjewicz. “That’s 5 miles a day!2 And it’s through various parts of the Passaic-Clifton community.”
Bike to work for a month:
If possible, make a pledge to bike to work for a month. Not only is this kind of commitment a fantastic way to get your daily exercise, but it’s also an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. You don’t necessarily have to bike to work every day—especially if it’s raining. However, challenging yourself to do it once a week can be hugely rewarding and maybe you will make it part of your routine.
Get friends or family members together for a physical activity:
Next time you get together with friends or family, skip dinner and arrange a physical activity. A bike ride, a pick-up game of ultimate Frisbee, a family baseball or softball game. These kinds of activities are all a lot of fun and provide great bonding experiences—all while getting your heart rate up.
But I may get hurt! If you are careful and exercise smartly, you should be OK. But, if chas v’shalom you do get hurt, you can always come to St. Mary’s General for physical therapy. Modern physical therapy is clinical and research-based treatment used to help a patient return to their normal level of movement with little to no pain, through the use of therapeutic exercise, manual treatment and application of different techniques.
A physical therapist helps patients to prevent, decrease and eliminate musculoskeletal and orthopedic pain and/or limitations. This can be after injuries, surgeries or due to chronic issues. Our PTs help patients to improve their movement with minimal to no pain. Therapies include physical exercise, strengthening activities and hands-on treatment by a licensed therapist in order to return the patient to their maximum level of functioning following surgery, injury or a long hospitalization.
St. Mary’s General Hospital—nationally recognized, locally preferred among the top hospitals in America for health, quality and patient safety! A center of excellence for maternal-child, the hospital has over 550 physicians and 1,200 employees, with every staff member committed to providing respectful, personalized, high-quality care—to satisfy patients’ needs and exceed their expectations. St. Mary’s General is a proud member of Prime Healthcare, which has more Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients for five consecutive years (2016-2020) than any other health system in the country including a “Top 15 Healthcare System” by Truven Health Analytics. To learn more about St. Mary’s General Hospital, visit https://www.smh-nj.com/ or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StMarysGeneral.
For more information, please contact George Matyjewicz, PhD, community liaison at [email protected]
1 https://www.runnergize.com/ Programs for women and children, in 2022 they started a program for men!
2 Calculate steps to mikes: https://chparks.com/411/How-To-Measure-Steps#:~:text=An%20average%20person%20has%20a,would%20be%20almost%205%20miles.