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February 11, 2009 > Find the Right Exercise Program for You

Find the Right Exercise Program for You

Women's Center Class Will Explore Healthy Exercise Options

Exercise can improve strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility - even your mood and overall feeling of wellbeing. But while the benefits of exercise are manifold, it's important before beginning any kind of exercise regimen to take into consideration one thing - what's right for you.

Your own health and medical history represent important parts of the exercise equation. And Washington Hospital offers a range of exercise programs developed with unique health considerations in mind.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, from noon to 1 p.m., the Washington Women's Center will host a Lunch and Learn session for women interested in learning which type of exercise program fits their individual needs.

"This Lunch and Learn class is meant to help women figure out which Washington Hospital program is appropriate for them," according to Phyllis Fiscella, R.N., Noninvasive Cardiology Manager at Washington Hospital. "For instance, if a participant has been diagnosed with heart disease, the right program for her would be Cardiac Rehab."

During the Lunch and Learn, a personal trainer will take participants on a tour of the exercise gym at Washington West and give details about who can benefit from the various exercise programs available at the hospital.

Cardiac Rehab

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Washington Hospital uniquely targets men and women who have heart disease or have had a heart attack or other cardiac event.

Unlike other exercise programs, Cardiac Rehab is supervised by a registered nurse and an exercise physiologist and might include EKG monitoring.

Benefits of the program include:
* Improved strength and endurance
* Improved coordination and balance
* Education
* Weight loss
* Better blood sugar control
* Better blood pressure control
* Improved cholesterol levels
* Improved self confidence
* Emotional and social support
* Access to a national support group

The program is often covered by insurance for those with certain heart-related diagnoses. A physician referral is necessary to enroll.

Ladies Choice Program

Another program that will be discussed during the Lunch and Learn is the Ladies Choice Program. Focusing solely on women, the program offers as individualized exercise program in a comfortable, friendly environment.

While a physician's clearance is required to participate, a personal trainer - not a health care professional - conducts the program. The program is meant for women that do not require medical supervision during exercise.

Ladies Choice, unlike Cardiac Rehab, is considered an elective activity, and is therefore not covered by insurance.

"It's sometimes hard for women to figure out why they need medical supervision and what this supervision entails," Fiscella says. "For instance, someone who has high blood pressure, she can participate in Ladies Choice. But if she also has heart disease, then she would need to come into Cardiac Rehab for supervised exercise."

Diabetes Exercise Program

Fiscella points out that the Ladies Choice Program is not set up for women with diabetes since these individuals may require blood sugar monitoring during exercise. Instead, these women would benefit from participating in the hospital's Diabetes Exercise Program.

Benefits of exercise

All of the exercise programs offered by Washington Hospital focus on exercises specifically designed to improve endurance, coordination, flexibility, balance and strength, according to Fiscella.

"These programs offer a complete exercise program in addition to simply improving endurance," Fiscella explains. "Most people think of being fit as simply being able to do aerobic exercises, but there are many components to a good exercise program."

Fiscella says if community members - male or female - have additional questions about which program might benefit them, they are welcome to call the Cardiac Rehab Program to discuss their individual needs.

To learn more about Washington Hospital's Cardiac Rehab or Diabetes Exercise programs, call (510) 494-7022.

"Exercise can benefit almost anybody regardless of their health," Fiscella says. "The trick is figuring out which program is right for you. More than anything, exercise should be safe, but a lot of people simply don't know where they fit into the spectrum of exercise programs."

Exercise the right way

To find an exercise program that suits your individuals needs, attend the Feb. 19 Lunch and Learn class from noon to 1 p.m. at the Washington Women's Center, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont.

To learn more about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Washington Hospital, call (510) 494-7022 or visit, click on "Services & Programs," select "Heart Program" and choose "Cardiac Rehabilitation" from the drop-down menu.

For more information about upcoming classes, as well as programs and services at the Washington Women's Center, call (510) 608-1301 or (866) 608-1301 or visit, click on "Services & Programs" and select "Women's Health."

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