Monday, January 07, 2013

Get Fit in 2013 with the Birmingham Public Library

A sampling of health and fitness materials available at BPL

How did you do today in sticking to your New Year's resolution? Still finding it hard to get going? Well, all it takes is to put one foot in front of the other. Before you know it, you will be making progress.

If weight loss is your goal, consider checking out a book or two from the Birmingham Public Library. Library locations such as Central, Springville Road, Avondale, and Five Points West libraries have displays full of fitness and health books and DVDs ready for check out.

Russell Lee, a certified group exercise instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, skilled YMCA instructor and a BPL library assistant, offers tips on how to get moving.

  • Beginners should try to engage in physical activity at least two to three times per week. For those trying to lose weight, work out at least five times a week. (NOTE: Before starting any exercise program, consult a physician.)
  • For those just starting, try walking a minimum of 15 minutes, three days a week. After that first week, increase your length and time. Eventually, bump up your walking to five days a week. Soon, you’ll be walking 30 minutes, 45 minutes, etc.
  • Wear the appropriate walking or exercise shoes and clothes. Ask an expert for advice on what kinds to get. The wrong type of clothing and shoes will affect your workout.
  • Any type of physical activity is good. What else do you like to do? Dancing, running, Zumba, cycling, swimming and aerobics will burn calories.
  • After you’ve started doing cardio, don’t forget about adding strength training and flexibility to your plan. Be sure to stretch before and after each workout. Pilates, hand weights, yoga, weight machines and calisthenics are good strength training options.
  • Monitor your workout intensity by doing the “Talk Test.’’ Do you get winded when you exercise? Are you having trouble talking? Are you breathing hard? If yes, you may be overdoing it. You should be able to have a conversation.

Need more motivation?

On Tuesday, January 8, Russell will lead a free exercise class at 6:15 p.m. in the Arrington Auditorium of the Linn-Henley Research Library, 2100 Park Place. For more information, send emails to

Every third Wednesday of the month from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., the Springville Road Library, 1224 Old Springville Road, will host "Wii Wednesday,'' where elementary school-age children can learn about fitness and healthy lifestyles by playing video games such as Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Just Dance for Kids, and more. The program will be offered every week during the summer.

Every Friday at 12:15 p.m., a one-hour Zumba DVD is played for patrons at the Springville Road Library, 1224 Old Springville Road. A library staffer acts as a facilitator. Class is for all fitness levels.

Submitted by Chanda Temple
Director of Public Relations for the Birmingham Public Library

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