Choosing an Athletic Shoe

Robbie Banta, PT, DPT

Choosing an athletic shoe can easily make or break your fitness goals.  You must ensure that you make the right choice to avoid any possible injury, which will send you in the wrong direction.  Remember these tips when making your next purchase.

  • Be familiar with the foot

Feet come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so your shoes should reflect your individual needs. The proper width of a shoe is important for both the front and the back of the shoe, since it is not always the same throughout. With 33 different joints in each foot, they move differently as well.  Some people are pronators walking on the inside of the foot, but supinating feet tend to put more pressure on the outside of the foot.  Your shoes should be chosen to move in a way your joints are intended.

  • Be specific to your activity

Walking shoes are more rigid in nature, while running shoes need more flexibility to meet the demand of higher impacts. Any activities on a firmer surface require increased cushioning to reduce the impact forces that can be damaging to your body.  Depending on which types of exercises that you do, you may need more than one pair of athletic shoes.

  • If the shoe fits…

DON’T wear it!  Your feet swell with increased blood flow during exercise, especially being in the gravity dependent position.  They also get bigger as the day goes on, so consider shopping later on in the day to ensure proper fit.  Most experts would agree that an athletic shoe should be about a half size larger than regular shoes, but you can always use the rule of thumb.  If you cannot comfortably place your thumb between your big toe and the end of the shoe, it is likely too small.

  • Replace when necessary

Shoes are not made to last forever, so pay attention to the wear and tear.  Some experts will tell you to replace them every 300-500 miles.  But you can also look at the soles of the feet to see how much the impact has whittled them down.  If they are starting to look a little dirty and distressed, chances are it is time to purchase a new pair instead of just cleaning them.

  • Don’t be cheap

This is an item that you will wear as often as you exercise and can further your fitness goals and/or prevent an injury.  Whereas it is nice to save some money when you can, spending a few extra dollars can save you medical costs in the future.  If the right shoe is the cheaper shoe, then lucky you!  But do not marginalize your health just to save a few bucks.

Most small/local athletic shoe stores offer free gait analyses with the purchase of their shoes. You can also support local businesses in the process.  The shoes may be a little pricier, but the extra costs are worth the expert opinion.  Once you buy your first pair, you will know the brand and model that is best for you.  Just like cars, these shoes are often released in the same design in subsequent years in different colors and fabrics.  So you can replace them with newer shoes in a few years.

If you end up having some problems with pain after choosing, contact your physician to see a Physical Therapist.  A PT can more specifically help to see how your foot moves, but can also help the muscles and joints up the kinetic chain to reduce and prevent these injuries.

Click here to learn more about Back in Action.

Creating an Exercise Plan: Living Well Seminar

Join Physical Therapist Robert Banta to learn the steps on designing an exercise plan that fits your needs and fitness level.

Tuesday, July 24 from 12pm to 1pm

Located in Touro’s Foucher Room on the 2nd Floor of the hospital.

Registration is required.

>> CLICK HERE to register online
, or call 504-897-8500.

Robbie Banta, PT, DPT received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He has more than 5 years of experience in physical therapy.

Health Benefits of Foam Rolling

Barbara Baldwin, PT, DPT

Exercise has the potential to induce fatigue in the musculoskeletal, nervous, and metabolic systems. Muscle soreness can be associated with exercise depending on the duration, frequency, intensity and type. After intense exercise, discomfort and pain occur due to the disruption of the muscle structure. This leads to prolonged impairment of muscle function and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).1 DOMS is highly variable ranges from muscle stiffness that subsides with daily activities to severe pain that restricts movement.2 The intensity of DOMS becomes apparent the first 24 hours post exercise, peaks between 24 and 72 hours, and subsides in 5 to 7 days.3

Foam rolling is an effective method of reducing tension and increasing muscle length for either a pre-workout warm-up or post-exercise active recovery to minimize the adverse effects of DOMS. Foam rolling is done by an individual using their body weight to apply pressure to their soft tissues while performing a rolling motion.  Common muscle groups that benefit from foam rolling include the quadriceps, iliotibial (IT) band, adductors, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. Foam rollers are an excellent asset because you are able to improve recovery time from the comfort of your own home with an inexpensive ($30 or less) piece of workout equipment and a modest time commitment (20 minutes or less). Foam rolling or self-myofascial release is a popular intervention used to enhance an individual’s myofascial mobility, prevent DOMS, increase blood flow, and improve recovery time.

Pearcey et al determined the effects of either no foam rolling or 20 minutes of foam rolling immediately, 24, and 48 hours post exercise.4 The study determined that foam rolling substantially improves quadriceps muscle tenderness by a moderate to large amount in the days after fatigue.  It was additionally determined that sprint time, power, and dynamic strength-endurance improve with foam rolling.4

A short bout of foam rolling immediately pre or post exercise may reduce muscle tenderness and the detrimental effects of DOMS. Self-myofascial release through foam rolling will benefit individuals seeking a recovery modality that is affordable, easy to perform, and time efficient!

Click here to learn more about Touro Rehabilitation Center.

Click here for other exercises on releasing stress and tension in your body.

  1. Byrne C, Twist C, Eston R. Neuromuscular function after exercise induced muscle damage: theoretical and applied implications. Sports Med. 2004;34(1): 49-69.
  2. Cheung K, Hume P, Maxwell L. Delayed onset muscle soreness: what is it and how do we treat it? J Sports Reabil 1996; 5(3):234-243.
  3. Armstrong RB. Mechanisms of exercise-induced delayed onset muscular soreness: a brief review. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1984; 16(6):529-538
  4. Pearcey et al. (2015) Pearcey GE, Bradbury-Squires DJ, Kawamoto J-E, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG, Button DC. Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. Journal of Athletic Training. 2015;50:5–13.

Barbara graduated from Louisiana Health Sciences Center New Orleans Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2017. She currently participates in an orthopedic manual therapy fellowship through the Manual Therapy Institute (MTI). She works full time at Touro Outpatient Rehabilitation Center on St. Charles Avenue.

Designing Your Exercise Routine

Robbie Banta, PT, DPT

Designing the right exercise routine can be daunting for even experienced fitness enthusiasts.  Without knowing where to start or having a solid plan, some may never even get the ball rolling.  Here are a few tips on how to make your 2018 health goals tangible and concrete.

1. Find something you like to do!

Just because your neighbor loves CrossFit or your spouse kills it at Jazzercise doesn’t mean you need to sign up yourself!  You need to find the type of exercise that keeps you interested.  Many facilities offer free trials if you need help discovering what gets you moving.   You may find several types of exercise interest you, thus increasing the portfolio of arsenal in your exercise bank!

2. Schedule your workout like a doctor’s appointment!

Until you can set a healthy habit of exercising regularly, this should be something that is put into your schedule each week in ink.  The abstract idea of working out 3-4 times a week is not as pressing as meeting at your gym Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays each morning at 5 a.m.  Not a morning person?  Then schedule it in the afternoon when it is convenient for you.  Just make sure it is in a time and a place that you can make!  The more inconvenient it is for you, the less likely you will maintain a good routine as the year goes.

3. Set goals that are appropriate and achievable!

Often times, people envision lofty goals such as dropping six sizes or running a half marathon.  Without practicable short term goals, these could fail before they even get off the ground.  Keep the big picture in mind, but having weekly or even biweekly short term goals will help you to see the progress that you are making.  That could be increasing time for each of your workouts, checking into your gym more often, or even watching those numbers climb down on the scale.

4. Bring a friend!

When dealing with fitness activities, some people would use the term, “Misery loves company!”  What is better is to think is that working out with someone else can help to keep you more accountable.  It is more likely that you are willing to let yourself down rather than a friend.  This can also develop a sense of comradery and competition between you.  If you are having more fun and keep each other moving, this will afford a very symbiotic relationship making your goals arrive even faster.

5. Ask an expert!

Not sure how to perform certain workout techniques?  Maybe you just have no clue how to even get started.  Why not ask an expert?  Personal training sessions can be rather expensive, so you might want to consider a group class for some necessary instruction.  If this is not quite enough, then a few personal training sessions to get you started might be in order.  Many people choose to have a few as a jumping off point, then taper off to get independent with their routines.  Others may choose to continue with some one-on-one sessions to get some needed motivation and/or ideas.  Depending on your budget and how much instruction you need, these experts are there for a reason, so get the most out of them!

Robbie Banta, PT, DPT received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He has more than 5 years of experience in physical therapy.

What is Yoga?

Kelley Howard Gill, Wild Lotus Yoga Instructor

Yoga is a mind-body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Hatha yoga is the branch of yoga that includes physical poses, also called asanas, and is the most widely practiced branch of yoga in the West. Most Hatha yoga classes are a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

And then within the physical practice of yoga, there are different styles of Hatha yoga – some are intense and vigorous, while others are relaxing and meditative. The practice of yoga is one that can be tailored or modified to suit each individual’s needs, regardless of age or fitness level. No matter which type you choose, yoga is a wonderful way to stretch and strengthen your body while simultaneously calming the mind.

Yoga Benefits

Yoga can make you stronger, flexible, more focused and alert. It can help you to stay limber and energetic as well. Yoga can also help improve these conditions:

  • Poor blood circulation
  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Limited mobility
  • Lower back pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Tension or stress
  • Depression

Yoga is good for people who haven’t been active in a while. It’s also good for people who have certain health conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. A benefit of yoga is that you can change your exercises to fit your needs. As you become stronger and more flexible with yoga, it becomes easier to do other kinds of exercise like dancing, walking, or swimming.

Yoga can help you:

  • Reduce your risk for injury. Each yoga pose targets specific muscles. This helps you increase your flexibility and reduce your risk for injury.
  • Reduce stress. Yoga can help soothe the mind and lower stress levels. It does this by focusing the mind on the moment and the movements. In scientific studies, people practicing yoga had a greater ability to relieve high cortisol and reduce other parameters of stress.
  • Increase your concentration. A main part of yoga is rhythmic, focused breathing. This can help you focus.
  • Understand the mind and body connection. Yoga requires you to focus all your energy on each movement or pose exactly. This can help you feel the mind and body work together.
  • Gain strength and stamina. More vigorous styles of yoga promote strength and stamina.
  • Improve balance and stability. Balancing poses require you to use your core muscles. This can help you improve your overall stability.
  • Improve posture. Yoga poses strengthen and open tight areas of the body like the shoulders and muscles of the upper back. This can help you keep good posture.
  • Develop body awareness. Yoga requires you to contract or relax specific muscles as you stretch into each pose. This can help you become more aware of your body’s strengths and weaknesses.

Join Touro for Yoga and Stress-Relief: Living Well Seminar.

Holidays can be a very stressful time. Join Wild Lotus Yoga Instructor Kelley Howard Gill to learn yoga moves that can relieve your holiday stress.

Thursday, December 7
5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Foucher Room, 2nd Floor

Registration is required.

>> CLICK HERE to register online, or call 504-897-8500.

Pregnancy and Exercise

Jamie Sias, M.D.

Research shows that regular exercise, with the approval of your healthcare provider, can often help to reduce the physical discomforts of pregnancy, reduce stress, improve energy and help with your recovery after giving birth. There is also evidence that physical activity may be beneficial for women with gestational diabetes. If you haven’t worked out before, use your pregnancy as a motivation for both you and your baby. Your body and hormones are changing, and exercise can help you cope with these changes.

What exercises are safe?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who exercised and were physically fit before pregnancy can safely continue exercising throughout their pregnancy. As long as you are you not overdoing your exercises, you should be good. However, if you were inactive before pregnancy or have any medical or pregnancy complications, we highly recommend you talk to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine.

There’s an age-old myth that exercising while pregnant can harm the baby. However, there is no evidence that this myth is true. Strenuous exercising will not harm your baby, but it will cause you to become tiresome more quickly than it did preterm. Therefore, it is recommended to perform low-impact exercises during your pregnancy.

Here’s a list of safe activities:

  • Swimming
  • Brisk walking
  • Indoor cycling
  • Stair climbing machines
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Low-impact dancing
  • Jogging (in moderation)
  • Yoga

When exercising, it’s important to remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Also, drink plenty of water and take breaks if needed.

Who should not exercise?

Exercise may not be safe if you have any of these conditions:

  • Preterm labor in current or past pregnancies
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cervical problems
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Decreased fetal activity or other complications
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia), although heart rate is typically higher in pregnant women
  • Certain health problems, like high blood pressure or heart disease

What are exercises are not safe?

The following are some exercises to avoid while pregnant:

  • Horseback riding
  • Water skiing
  • Scuba diving
  • High altitude skiing
  • Contact sports
  • Any exercise that can cause a serious fall
  • Exercising on your back after the first trimester (because of reduced blood flow to the uterus)
  • Vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather, as pregnant women are less efficient at exchanging heat
  • Exercise involving holding your breath during exertion. This can cause an increased intra-abdominal pressure

If you start to experience any dizziness, faintness, chest pain, nausea, contractions and vaginal bleeding, stop exercising and contact your physician.

Join Touro for Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: nutrition and wellness during pregnancy and beyond

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and baby during pregnancy and after delivery. Join Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry and Yoga Instructor Kelley Howard Gill from Wild Lotus Yoga for an informative class on nutrition and wellness for expectant and new mothers

Click here to learn more or to register for an upcoming class.

Dr. Jamie Sias is an OB/GYN with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. She received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. Sias cares for patients at two convenient locations, Mid-City and St. Claude.

5 Steps to Achieving Your Fitness Goal

Guest Blogger
Nolan Ferraro, Owner of Salire Fitness and Wellness

Step 1 – Your personal inventory – Determine, Decide & Define

Workout plan,dumbbell, tawel and apple. Woman, fittness background

In order to reach your health and wellness goals in 2017, you must take stock of where you are and decide if this is the place that you want to continue to inhabit. If the answer is yes and you are satisfied with your current reality, there is little that you need to do. If the answer is no and you want to start to make a positive, lasting and life altering change, you must take a personal inventory. The first step of any personal inventory is to determine where you are. After determining where you are, you must then decide specifically where you want to be. Finally, after determining where you are and deciding where you want to be, you must define how you are going to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Step 2 – Be intentional, set S.M.A.R.T. goals

Next, nothing great happens by accident! So, you must now ensure your success journey by setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific, Measureable, Action-Oriented, Realistic & Timed). This is undoubtedly the most critical step in the entire process. Why is this step so important? Because without taking the time to set S.M.A.R.T. goals in the beginning, you have an incomplete road map and you will find yourself losing direction, motivation and determination. You will not be sure where you are going specifically and when the inevitable bumps and bruises arise, you will be hard pressed to remember why you ever decided to take this journey.

Step 3 – Don’t do it alone – find a partner

Ab Crunches with Medicine Ball

This is the step where you will get a chance to build your team of fit friends, ensure some external motivation and become the key to someone else’s success! It is not a necessity that you have an exercise buddy, but statistics show that you are two times more likely (66%) to succeed on your fitness journey if you travel this road with a like-minded friend who can hold you accountable, share in your successes and keep you motivated. This will also give you the chance to do the same for your “Fit Buddy” which will be beneficial for both of you!

Step 4 – Walk before you run, moderation is key

Remember the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so step slowly, but get to stepping. This is the action phase of your journey and this is where you will succeed and possibly face hurdles. It is in this fourth step that forward movement and momentum are important, but a critical component will also be moderation. It is often people with no goal, too grandiose a goal or a well-defined goal without moderation that have the highest hurdles. I advise moderation along the way.

Step 5 – Give yourself a break, you are worth it

Morning jogging

The final step is to remember that you are on this journey to make your life more enjoyable and not just healthier. Remember to treat yourself with compassion. It will not take long for you to see that passion without compassion is a recipe for disaster. You must be fluid and flexible as you travel your wellness path. You don’t want to be too lenient on yourself or make excuses each time you feel challenged. You also don’t want to be so rigid that you begin to dislike the journey. This is where you must decide what is too easy and what is too hard and how you will handle setbacks along the way. Don’t be too hard, but also never give up!

For more information on Nolan Ferraro and Salire Fitness & Wellness visit

A special thanks to Nolan for contributing to our Living Well blog!

nolanCertified personal trainer and licensed wellness coach Nolan Ferraro has been recognized as the #1 Best Personal Trainer in New Orleans.

Nolan counts Chef Susan Spicer among the thousands of New Orleanians who have gotten in shape with Salire’s Private Personal Training and high-impact fitness Boot camp programs like “Power in the Park”, a month-long cross-training boot camp in City Park. He has also added a new high intensity interval training class, Body Blitz, at his studio.


Running Post-Partum

Get Up and Move

Monique Serpas, PT, DPT, OCS

Welcoming a new baby into the world is a special moment full of love and new perspective in which it feels like time stops for just a while.  Alternately, time can also feel like it’s rushing past like a freight train.  Adjusting to a new family member and the associated new routines can be just crazy at times.  After giving birth, many mothers are eager to feel “normal” again and gain some control, not only physically but mentally.

“For some women, running is their sanity,” says Lauren Chappetta King, Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in Pelvic Health, and also a runner herself, having completed a marathon.  She helps women, before and after birth, addresses issues related to pelvic pain and dysfunction.  As physical therapists, who have both had children, we understand the desire new moms have to exercise again.  I recently chatted with Dr. King and Dr. Rebecca Perret, a Medical Doctor who is Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, about their recommendations to safely return to running postpartum.

Continue reading

5 Training Errors that Could Lead to Running Injury

Running Training: What You Need to Know

Monique Serpas, PT, DPT, OCS

If you’re reading this and you’re a runner, chances are you’ve felt pain.  Most runners experience pain at some point, with research indicating 79% of runners will be injured and 46% will have recurrence of the problem.

Common running injuries are patellofemoral pain, IT Band syndrome, hamstrings strains, achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and plantar fasciitis.  Though running can be associated with these painful conditions, it can also boost mood by the infamous “runners high” and it is a great form of “free” exercise that helps reduce blood pressure, control blood sugar levels, and manage weight, just to name a few of the benefits.


Reduce risk of injury by running smart and steering clear of these five training errors.

1. Improper conditioning.

Many of the guidelines to train for 5Ks and half marathons give guidance on how to run in order to prepare for a race, though skimp on information about cross training in order to improve performance and reduce injury.  It takes more than just running in order to train well.

Many recreational runners believe stretching is a key factor to prevent injury, though there is little research to support this belief.   It is possible to have good alignment and still be at increased risk of injury due to inability of the muscles to absorb shock if they are weak or fatigue easily. Strength training is an important component to reducing injury, especially in the hips and core. Runners with patellofemoral pain syndrome, pain at the front of the knee, were found to have weaker hip abductor muscles compared to controls and in a study of sprinters, weak hip extensors and hamstrings were associated with hamstring injury.

2. Doing too much too soon.

This is a biggie.  Increasing distance more than 30% over a two week period was found to be associated with running injuries, unlike those who increased their distance by less than 10%.  Generally, I recommend sticking by the 10% rule.

There are other factors to consider other than distance, such as running pace, interval training, sprint training, and elevation/descent (running on hills or levees).  Sudden changes to any of these factors could put a runner at risk of injury.  Run smart and don’t ignore what your body is telling you.  Allow time for your body to adapt to new distances as well as recover from intense training.

3. Overstriding.

Running with a wide stride and hitting the ground with the heel of the foot first, or a heel strike pattern, creates a braking effect to running, increasing joint loading as well as making a run less efficient.  In a study where heel strikers with knee pain were trained to run with a more mid or forefoot strike pattern, pain was reduced. In order to improve your speed, increase your run cadence.  Take more steps with a shorter stride and this will increase speed without increasing joint impact loads.


4. Running on the same side of the road.

Road camber is the slope of the road with the highest point in the center and lowest on the edges in order to promote good drainage.  When running on the left side of the road, the left leg is on the slope which restricts healthy pronation and the right leg is encouraged to overpronate.  The left leg is also relatively lower than the right leg which sets your pelvis at unequal heights and if you always run on the same side, then you could create muscular imbalances which may put you at increased risk of injury.

If you must run on the road, run out and in on the same side, or switch sides of the road halfway if you are running a circular route.  You could switch up your running surface to grass, sidewalk, walking or biking paths, a track, top of the levee, or the treadmill for a more level surface.

5. Running in old shoes.

Wearing old shoes is associated with the development of stress fractures in a study of training in military recruits.   Replace shoes around 300-350 miles in order to reduce your risk of this injury. You may also want to try shock-absorbing insoles if you’re having problems with shin splints as research indicates they can reduce pain.

Avoiding these five training errors will hopefully keep you from experiencing painful running injuries. If you are thinking about starting to run and not sure where to start or you are having pain with exercise, ask your doctor to refer you to physical therapy.  A physical therapist will do a whole body evaluation and can help you develop a customized exercise program with the goal of health promotion and injury prevention.

Learn more about preventing sports injuries.

Serpas-MoniqueMonique Serpas, PT, DPT, OCS. is a physical therapist and board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist practicing at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, LA. Monique realizes how difficult it can be to overcome an injury or manage a chronic condition and is focused on helping her clients achieve wellness through a physically active lifestyle. Monique treats orthopaedic, balance, and vestibular disorders using a combination of hands-on manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and education. This enables patients to assist in their own recovery and injury prevention. Monique holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Concordia University Wisconsin (2008) and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University (2004). She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Louisiana Physical Therapy Association (LPTA), and the Orthopaedic and Neurology sections of the APTA.
1. Powers, C & Davis, I. (2011). “Biomechanical Factors Underlying Running Injuries: Proximal and Distal Factors” presented February 10, 2011 at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, New Orleans, LA.
2. Yeung SS, Yeung EW, Gillespie LD. (2011). Interventions for Preventing lower limb soft-tissue running injuries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 7. Art. No .: CD001256. DOI: 10.1002 / 14651858.CD001256.pub2.
3. Dierks, TA, Manal, KT, et. al. (2008). Proximal and Distal Influences on Hip and Knee Kinematics in Runners With Patellofemoral Pain During a Prolonged Run.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2008;38(8):448–456.
4. Sugiura,Y, Saito TJ, et. al. (2008). Strength Deficits Identified With Concentric Action of the Hip Extensors and Eccentric Action of the Hamstrings Predispose to Hamstring Injury in Elite Sprinters. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2008;38(8):457–464.
5. RØ Nielsen, ET Parner, EA Nohr, et al. (2014).  Excessive Progression in Weekly Running Distance and Risk of Running-Related Injuries: Association Which Varies According to Type of Injury.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Oct;44(10):739-47.
6. Roy T.H. Cheung and Irene S. Davis.  Landing Pattern Modification to Improve Patellofemoral Pain in Runners: A Case Series. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2011;41(12):914–919.
7. Warden SJ, Davis IS, Fredericson M. (2014).  Management and prevention of bone stress injuries in long-distance runners.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Oct;44(10):749-65.)
8. Richter, Randy R,PhD., P.T., Austin, Tricia M, PhD,P.T., A.T.C., Reinking, Mark F, PhD, PT,A.T.C., S.C.S. Foot orthoses in lower limb overuse conditions: A systematic review and meta-analysis – critical appraisal and commentary. Journal of Athletic Training. 2011;46(1):103-6.

Exercise Menu: A new approach to finding time for exercise

Robert Gardner, Ph.D., LPC

One common reason people give for not getting enough exercise is they don’t have time to do it. In our busy lifestyle, it can be a challenge to find time for regular exercise. You may identify with a shortage of time and how that impacts your ability to get regular exercise. Like so many people, you may have good intentions and plan on going to the gym or getting in a run; however, something happens during the day that keeps you from adhering to your plan. That is why it is important to consider taking a different approach that affords you greater flexibility with when and how much you exercise as well as the type of exercise you chose to do.
One way to build flexibility into your exercise routine involves using an “exercise menu.” This approach enables you to exercise everyday even when your day does not go as planned. Here’s how the exercise menu works:

  • As your day unfolds, determine how much time you have to devote to exercising
  • Based on the amount of time you can exercise, chose an activity from your Exercise Menu
  • It is recommended you vary the exercises you chose to do from one day to the next—this approach helps you focus on different muscle groups while keeping you motivated

When considering your own exercise menu, be aware of any limitations and obstacles that you must take into account in order for your menu to be “doable.” In other words, be realistic with yourself and include only those exercise activities you are able and willing to perform.

Example of an Exercise Menu

Available Time Type of Exercise
10 minutes
15-20 minutes
30 minutes
45 minutes
1 hour
1 hour
1 hour
90 minutes
2 hours
Perform planks while watching TV to strengthen abdominal muscles
Stretching routine at 6:30 in the morning
Walk around the block in the morning at a leisurely pace
Walk around the block after work with a neighbor at a brisk pace
Jog at Audubon Park after work at a moderate pace
Attend 5:30 p.m. yoga class on Wed. at Wild Lotus Yoga Studio
Attend a Pilates class at 9:00 a.m. on Sat. at Stone Creek Club
15-mile bike ride on river levee beginning at Audubon Park
Weekend 25-mile bike ride with cycling club that meets at City Park


Create Your Exercise Menu

Consider your daily schedule and create a menu that provides you with a variety of activities you enjoy and can realistically accomplish given the time you have available for exercise. Remember to be realistic with the types of exercise you choose to include on your menu and the length of time you propose exercising. If it’s not realistic, you likely won’t do it.

My Exercise Menu

Available Time
10 minutes
10 minutes
15 minutes
15 minutes
20 minutes
20 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
45 minutes
45 minutes
60 minutes
60 minutes
60 minutes
90 minutes
90 minutes
120 minutes
120 minutes
Type of Exercise

Comments: __________________________________________________________________

headshotRobert Gardner, Ph.D., LPC is Director of Psychosocial Oncology at Touro Infirmary and administers all aspects of Touro’s Supportive Cancer Care Center. Dr. Gardner earned his Ph.D.. from the University of New Orleans in 2008. He completed his Internship at Tulane Cancer Center in 2005, where he also served as Clinical Mental Health Counselor from 2006 – 2008. Dr. Gardner is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Louisiana.

>> Click here for details on Dr. Gardner and the Supportive Cancer Care Center at Touro.