Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Answers to common fitness questions

New to the wonderful world of fitness? If so, you most likely have a plethora of questions. Here to help you begin your journey are the answers to some of the most popular ones:

How often should you work out? To receive health benefits, maintain your current weight and prevent weight gain, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends you do at least 150 minutes (30 minutes five days a week) of moderate intensity cardio activity weekly. The suggested activity time increases to at least 250 minutes weekly for overweight individuals looking to shed pounds. If time is a concern, you could break up the workout sessions into groups of 10 minutes at a time. For strength training, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests targeting the major muscle groups two or three times a week using a variety of exercises and equipment. Flexibility exercises should be performed at least two or three days a week to improve range of motion.

Will abdominal exercises help me lose abdominal fat? This is probably the most-asked question, and the answer is a fervent "no!" When performed correctly, abdominal exercises are great for strengthening your core, but there is no such thing as spot reducing body fat. The most effective way to reduce "ab fat" is lots of cardiovascular exercise ... exercise that involves the whole body, such as walking, jogging, aerobics, cycling and swimming. Remember, too, that eating habits play a major role in the losing or gaining process.

What is considered moderate intensity? Moderate intensity activity may leave you a little out of breath, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. According to public health experts, you would be expending 3 1/2 to 7 calories a minute. Moderate intensity activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, ballroom dancing and playing doubles in tennis.

How can you maximize your cardio workout? Use your arms while you are using those legs. Avoid letting them just hang by your sides. Pump them while running, allow the arms to move with you while on the treadmill and use your arms in Zumba or any cardio class. Introducing interval training by alternating a steady pace with a brisk pace will increase your calorie burning while building up your endurance.

What is the difference between working out with free weights and working out with machines? They both have their advantages. Machines move in a predetermined direction and strengthen isolated muscle groups, while free weights can move in many directions, stabilizing the secondary muscle groups around the joints as well as the targeted muscles.

How many calories do you need to burn to lose 1 pound of fat? It takes 3,500 calories to burn off 1 pound of fat. To lose 1 pound in a week you would need to consume 500 fewer calories a day. You could share that amount by burning 250 calories with activities and knocking off 250 calories from your daily eating.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Contact Sally at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Opposite arm and leg lift: This combination strength-stretch exercise for the lower back also works the glutes and hamstrings (back of thighs).

Lie facedown on a mat with your arms stretched out in front of your shoulders. Your forehead will be on the mat. With contracted abdominals, lift an opposite arm and leg off the floor. No high lifts: Your arm should be no higher than shoulder level and your leg no higher than hip level. Maintaining the muscle contraction, hold for a slow count of four, then, with control, lower your leg and arm, repeating four or five times. Change to the other arm and leg and repeat the pattern.

. Alternating overhead press: This exercise targets the shoulder muscles.

Begin standing or sitting with bent arms, weights next to the ears, palms facing inward. Contract your abdominals to give support to the back. Raise one arm overhead while holding the other arm in place. Lower your arm to the original position (near the ears), then press the other arm upward. Continue alternating arms for eight to 15 repetitions.

Basic shoulder stretch: Bring your right arm across your chest and wrap your left hand just above the elbow. Gently pull the right arm to add more stretch in the shoulders. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. Repeat the stretch several times.

Answers to common fitness questions 02/20/17 [Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2017 5:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]