Hopefully my yearly Q&A column will answer some of your lingering fitness questions. Throughout my years of teaching, I find that while there are always a few new questions being asked, many of the same fitness-related questions keep popping up. Here are four of the more popular ones.
Why am I not noticing any changes in my body? I have been doing my same workout for a long time.
Not changing your workout is the likely problem. Many people tend to do the same workout using the same exercises, in the same order, with the same number of repetitions, with the same weight. Your body has reached a plateau, which is sort of its way of saying “been there, done that.” Your body is so used to what you are doing that it doesn’t give you the response you want. Change that daily routine and challenge your body with a little more variety. Mix up the order in which you do the exercises, introduce a new movement every once in a while and include some compound exercises that use multiple muscles at one time.
I know the benefits of cardio, but what are the benefits of weight training?
For people over 50, the benefits are huge, as strength training can help you remain independent by improving your strength and endurance. Weight training can slow down or even reverse declines in muscle mass and bone density. And muscle burns more calories than fat. It’s the furnace that burns fat. Another plus for strength training: improved balance, posture and coordination.
How can I get rid of flabby arms?
One of the more popular exercise myths is the belief that you can work any specific area of your body and lose fat in that area. No can do! You cannot dictate where the body fat will come from. While your body is in charge of where you will be losing fat, there are a few things you can do to help the flabby triceps muscles. Keep up with your cardio work, which helps you lose overall body fat, and include triceps exercises in your workout to help build more muscle. More muscle will mean stronger and firmer triceps.
How often should I be working out?
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate-intensity aerobic exercise 30 minutes a day five times a week and vigorously intense aerobic exercise 20 minutes a day three times a week. Moderate intensity means you’ll be a little breathy but can still talk while performing the exercise. Strength training all the major muscles is recommended two to three times a week.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can’t respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at [email protected]
Your move | Demonstrated by Ben Whitener
Repeat these exercises eight to 10 times.
Triceps extension on floor: Targets the back of the upper arms.
Hold one weight in each hand with palms facing inward.
Lie on the floor with knees bent and abdominals contracted.
Raise your arms straight up above the chest without locking your elbows.
Keeping your arms close to your ears, bend your arms as you slowly lower the weights toward the sides of your head.
Extend your arms from the elbows and return to the starting position.
Tips: Perform the movements slowly. Beginners may want to limit their range of motion.
Standing overhead triceps extension: Targets the back of the upper arms.
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart, abdominals contracted.
Holding one weight with both hands, extend your arms overhead.
Keep your arms close to your ears and bend them as you slowly lower the weight behind your head.
Raise your arms and return to the starting position.
Tips: Protect your back by relaxing your knees and contracting your abdominals. You may also perform this exercise seated. Sit on a stability ball to add core strength.
Biceps curl with side lunge: Targets the arms, legs, glutes and hips and improves balance and coordination.
Standing, hold a weight in each hand.
Keeping your elbows close to your sides, perform biceps curls by bending at your elbows and bringing the weights up to your shoulders with palms facing upward.
As you take a large step to the right in a side lunge position, lower your arms to about knee level.
Do not allow your knee to extend beyond your toes.
Push off your right foot as you return to standing, bringing your arms back into a biceps curl.
Tip: To add a balance movement, stand on one foot and perform a knee lift when you return your leg from the lunge position. Beginners could tap the floor with their foot instead of balancing on one leg.