Thursday, January 4, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 4, 2001

Get your answers from exercise hotline

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Staff Writer

The annual Fitness On Call hotline may not be the antidote to holiday excess, but could be the beginning of something that is.

From 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 13, the American Council on Exercise will offer a toll-free hotline to answer your most pressing fitness questions: 1-888-397-2473.

"It used to be people weren’t exercising and were asking questions about getting started," said exercise physiologist Richard Cotton, an ACE spokesman from San Diego. "Now it seems people are exercising and asking questions about how to do it more and better."

He cited these examples: What kind of equipment is needed to set up a home gym? How do you get started on strength training if you’ve never lifted weights before? How do you get the most out of walking? (Answers: "Try before you buy," but you can’t go wrong with dumbbells, an exercise mat, exercise bands and tubing, and an exercise bench. In strength training, a beginner is advised to consult his or her doctor first, and then consider joining a gym for qualified instruction before launching into hoisting weights. For walking, start with a minimum of 20 minutes a day and increase it gradually until you can walk several miles with ease, then vary the intensity by adding hills or increasing speed.)

Last year around a thousand calls came from all over the country, fielded by about 40 volunteer ACE-certified fitness professionals. The nonprofit organization has offered the one-day fitness hotline since 1996 to promote physical activity and protect consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products. Considered a workout watchdog, ACE sets standards and certifies fitness professionals; or 1-800-825-3636.

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