Summer is in full swing, and here in Northern California that can only mean one thing: It’s hot. With temperatures soaring into the high 90s and above 100 during July and August, it can often be hard to find the time — and motivation — to exercise. But that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t still important.
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“We’re animals; we’re meant to move,” said June Scofield, D.C., owner and founder of Mother Lode Chiropractic Center, located in Placerville, where she has been in practice for more than 30 years. “We need to be moving. It really is true that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Everything from our immune systems to our metabolism functions better when we’re moving.”
But what about the heat? It’s dangerous to exercise when it’s hot out, right? According to Dr. Scofield — and a little bit of common sense — there are ways to combat the heat.
“We’re really lucky here in that it cools down at night,” said Scofield. “I tell my patients to work out in the mornings or wait until it cools off in the evening. You can also work out indoors where there’s air conditioning, or go swimming. One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s important to vary cardio and weightlifting, and to do lots of different kinds of activities. The minute you start getting bored, switch it up.”
But, wait a minute. Weightlifting? Isn’t that a guy thing? After all, most women aren’t interested in bulking up. Why should women worry about working out with weights? Dr. Scofield says it’s because working out with weights helps build strong bones and enables women to do numerous other activities with ease. It also helps tone muscles, which is something many women desire but are unable to achieve with cardio workouts alone.
“Women’s physique is such that they’re not going to bulk up,” explained Scofield. “We’re just not built that way. Unless we’re doing something unnatural, it’s not going to happen.”
Work out in your own backyard
Another great thing about living in the Sierra Nevada foothills is the number of outdoor activities available locally. From running along the American River Trail, to kayaking in Lake Natomas, to spending a weekend camping and hiking at Tahoe, El Dorado County residents have it all.
“We’re so blessed to have all of these things right here in our backyard,” said Scofield. “We don’t have to travel very far to be out in nature and be moving. It’s also great because a lot of these activities are skills we can develop and keep getting better at our whole lives. It’s important to find activities that we stay interested in and are enthusiastic about doing — that’s what keeps us young.”
Regular exercise and proper nutrition keep the doctor away
While there are no set rules about how much a person should or should not work out, one thing is certain: Consistency is key. Women hoping for improved physical fitness, weight loss and overall better health can’t expect to see results if they only work out one or two days per week. At a minimum, Dr. Scofield says both men and women need to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes five times per week. Proper nutrition is also important.
“In order to build muscle, we need protein. We lose vitamins and minerals while working out, so it’s also important to take supplements that provide things like calcium, magnesium, omega-3 and vitamin D,” said Scofield. “A few years ago there was talk that exercise is bad for you because it creates free radicals, but eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of antioxidants, can combat that. As long as we get the proper nutrition, our bodies will balance themselves out.”
Fitness for everyone
The best way to be active, of course, is when the whole family is involved. As a way to introduce community members to a full range of family-friendly activities as well as to natural health care providers in the area, Dr. Scofield created the Family Fit ‘N Fun Healthy Lifestyle Expo in 2011. The third annual event was held at High Hill Ranch in Camino on June 9 this year and was a smashing success.
“It’s so important to be active. I can’t stress that enough,” said Scofield. “We lead busy lives, so you really have to make it a priority and a habit — like brushing your teeth. And if they’re having trouble getting motivated, I always tell my patients to think about how they’ll feel after they exercise. You always feel better afterward, so base your decision on that.”
For more information on Mother Lode Chiropractic Center or the Family Fit ‘N Fun Healthy Lifestyle Expo, please visit motherlodechiropractic.com or familyfitnfun.org.