Another year of COVID-19 is behind us. What is ahead of us in 2022?

For some, it’s time to get out of your yoga pants and back into your suit pants. But there can be a problem – they don’t fit.

Exercise Physiologists at UPMC Somerset Rehabilitation and Wellness Center say that people shouldn’t let inexperience in exercising stop them from starting a journey to healthier lives.

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According to Dave Polcha, getting active and entering a fitness program should be done under the right supervision. He recommended finding a facility that has trainers who will work with you to develop a program that is just right for you.

“People start on January 1st and then they realize it takes more effort, so they get out,” he said. “You need to establish a new pattern on the first day before undertaking a lifestyle overhaul.

“Set small goals. Achieve them. Small goals turned into big victories, mentally and psychologically.”

How to start exercising

Mike Seibert said trainers can help individuals set achievable goals.

“In setting a goal, we’ll evaluate them, see what their goals are and what is realistic based on their location,” he said. “We take basic information and body fat percentage. Then we look at what is ideal for your gender and age … calculate that and set an idealistic goal and landmarks. Lifestyle changes need to be more manageable and achievable.

“You won’t become an Amazon woman unless you train like one because you want to be so strong,” said Siebert. “It’s more of a myth that lifting weights makes you bulky.”

Polcha said the more active a person is, the more stable they become.

“You have to look past the number on the scale. Getting better means becoming more stable,” he said. “More activity makes your daily life better.

“It’s cumulative. And the same with dieting. Cut out a little each day, then it grows into larger numbers. Do a little activity every day. You can get by on 20 to 30 minutes a day. Do it, if you have the time. It doesn’t have to be all at the same time. “

Seibert agreed.

“Fit it into your schedule. A lot of people don’t want to get rid of what they are doing, so if they can manage 10 minutes here and there, they can do it. “

Why are gyms important?

Both Polcha and Seibert said they found that people created a slew of excuses for not exercising and getting healthier because of the pandemic.

“We still have to try to get back to life,” said Polcha. “Be active, not just for healthy weight management. All of this helps with metabolic diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, dementia – everything can be influenced by physical activity.

“The psychological benefits of exercise improve self-image, self-worth, and self-confidence. Physiologically, it helps too.”

The two men said that people with pre-existing medical conditions should see their doctor first to make sure the exercise is safe. They advised looking for an institution that offers evaluations and an in-depth look at the person’s limits and develops a basis on which to put the program together, teach it and work with it for several weeks.

“People are so focused on the scales,” said Seibert.

“What does that mean? Body fat percentage is the big picture. The total percentage is way better. Don’t go with the scale.”

He said coaches can put together a more conservative program that suits the physical condition of the person.

“Small steps are easier to achieve,” he said.

Polcha said working with a partner is a great way to provide a support network with like-minded people and goals.

“Gyms offer a social exercise program,” he said. “You can hold each other accountable.”

Weight loss competition in Somerset

The UPMC Somerset Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at 126 E. Church St. in Somerset is holding a competition to measure body fat percentage.

The competition is open to both non-members and members. It’s a 10 week program that starts this week.

To register, go to the reception in the Wheeler building. There is no registration fee and participants can pay monthly. Membership includes free reviews and program improvements. The center participates in insurance programs.

“Practice what you can do,” said Polcha. “In the end we try to make you better.”

“You’d better get out of here than you came in.”

The center has updated cardio and weight training equipment, as well as a free weights area. The center also offers group fitness classes. Membership is open to the general public.

The trainers work with people of all ages. They have many years of experience in training and are accredited.

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, the center is offering improved cleanliness, which includes increased equipment hygiene and spacing between stations to allow social distancing. A mask is required in all public areas and when switching between devices.

“The facility here is clean and germ-conscious,” said Polcha. “It’s a protected environment. It’s safe to return to exercise.”

To learn more about UPMC’s security protocols, visit


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