Fitness Q&A: Walking is near-perfect exercise

Fitness expert, Namita Jain answers readers’ questions on fitness. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Thursday.

This week’s answers:

1. Tell me a good personal gym trainer in pune near kothrud. as i m a slim 24yrs old guy.

I suggest that you look for a trainer who is qualified and has a good repute. I am not based in Pune and I don’t know trainers there.

2. Do you have kickboxing classes in Chennai? How long does it take for a person to reduce? What are the other benefits other than flexibility?
Rekha Eashwar

No, I don’t run kick boxing classes in Chennai. The realistic goal to lose weight should be 1 to 2 pounds per week. Drastic weight loss measures could result in ill-health and lowered immunity levels.

3.  Can abs machines get rid of “love handles”?

Love handles, in colloquial words, are the layer of fat deposit around the midsection, which consists of the waist and abs. So you need to work this entire region to see results.

Three ways to target this area are:

1.  Train your abdominal muscles, smart

Constantly challenge your abdominal muscles by varying your workouts. Yes, ab machines are one way to work these muscles. Also, you could do ab crunches and other ab and waist exercises without machines to challenge the muscles.

2.  Re-vamp your eating habits

Go for a healthy diet that is nutritionally balanced and low in fat. There is no getting away from the fact that food you eat plays a vital role in defining your mid-section.

3.  Include cardiovascular exercises to burn calories

Unless you burn fat, your toned abdominal will remain hidden underneath a layer of fat. That’s why burning calories becomes such an important part of abdominal training.

4. Hi Namita, I have been asked to weight train with 2 kg of ankle weights. But that hurts my back so I give it up after a couple of days. Can I simply continue hoping that I will get used to it or should I stop trying?

I suggest that you discontinue using the ankle weights and do exercises without them. Any exercise that induces back pain should also be avoided. Your exercise programme should be structured and progressed slowly and gradually. Once your body adapts to change and gets stronger you can increase the workload and challenge the muscles. I suggest you consult with a qualified fitness professional.

5. I would like to walk daily. Please tell me how to go about it? Is there a particular way in which to walk?

Walking is the nearest activity to perfect exercise because it is a low impact activity that works the whole body. Walk tall, with your head centred between your shoulders and your chest lifted. Bend elbows and pump your arms swinging forward and back from your shoulders. Pull your abs in and with feet firmly on the ground, strike first with your heel and then roll your entire foot until you push off into the next stride with the ball of your foot.

I suggest you start with 30 minutes of walking daily increasing duration gradually to 1 hour. You can also intermingle walking styles, for example; you may choose to do frequent short, but brisk walks during the week and do longer leisurely walks on the weekends when you might have more time.

Namita is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.

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