Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the five things that all of us can do to make January a time for positive self-reinvention. Of course, one of those five was exercise.

It’s easier than you think to incorporate both aerobic and flexibility exercises into your daily routine, whether you’re at home or working at an office or other location.

Plan 15-minute sessions three times a day. Exercise boosts the brain biochemistry to improve the mood and the immune system. It also burns calories and tones the muscles. As always, clear a planned exercise routine with your health care provider first.

Author Terry Teachout moved to uptown Manhattan last year, and these stairs are his gym.

Climb stairs.  Begin with what you can manage. If you’re in reasonably good shape, three flights of stairs is a good starting point. Go slowly. Hold onto the banister. Wear exercise shoes with good support. Stretch the foot and ankle after each session by placing the forefoot on the edge of a stair, holding onto the banister, and pressing the heel down. Hold for 30 seconds.  Do 10 stretches after each session of stair-climbing. As your aerobic capacity improves, increase the number of stairs you climb at a time.

Or hit the road. If you don’t live or work in a building with stairs, take to the road or the park. Dress warmly in layers. Apply extra-thick moisturizer to your face to prevent damage from the cold and wind. Consider wearing a silk and cashmere mask that has openings for eyes and mouth and protects the rest of the face. (These protective masks do not itch and irritate the skin as much as wool does.) Wearing the right exercise shoes with good support, begin with 15 minutes of really rapid walking. Pump the arms when you walk. Stretch the leg muscles after your walk.

Use weights. Buy 2- or 3-pound weights and use them every other day before leaving home. Stand in front of a mirror so you can check your form, and do three sets of 10 biceps curls and three sets of 10 triceps exercises.  Then stretch these muscles. On the other days, do shoulder and chest exercises. Simple exercises to follow can be found on YouTube. Just key in “shoulder raises,” “chest press,” and so on, in the search box.

At night, do abdominal work.  The low plank exercise—a simple, well-known yoga pose—is great for abdominal strength and gives the best result in the shortest amount of time. This YouTube video shows you how to do the exercise and how to stretch afterward.


Yoga: Low Plank Exercise — powered by ehow

Short, quick sessions are a great way to fit exercise into your regular routine. And doing them daily makes sure they become part of your regular routine. Stick with it through January, and you’ll find yourself facing February with increased energy and a more positive outlook.

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  • Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. January 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Mine is OLD, Roz, but I will locate one for you. It had been bitter here in the city this week.


  • RozWarren January 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    So where can I buy one of those silk and cashmere face masks? I was walking around NYC today and yesterday and it was COLD!! I really could have used a face mask.