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Staying Fit: Rich Weil, MEd, CDE

Make the most of your fitness activities

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You may want to speak to your physician about the latest treatments, including medication to help you continue your activity.

One point is very clear: people with arthritis do best when they are physically active. So I encourage you to pursue any or all of the options that I've mentioned.

Member question: I need help getting my inner thighs in shape. I currently run for about 40 minutes three to four times a week and do strength training on my legs (adduction machine) two times a week. But my inner thighs still touch!

Weil: Unfortunately, spot reducing does not work. It would be nice if during your run you could tell the fat cells in your thighs to give up the fat so that the muscles could burn the fat away. But this does not work. The way you reduce fat is like you are doing. Running, by the way, is excellent, as is resistance exercise like you're doing.

The adduction machine that you are using will tighten the muscles under any excess fat, but will not reduce the fat. However, if the muscles are tight and toned, they may allow your clothes to fit better.

Also keep in mind that lower extremity fat is very stubborn, particularly so in women, and will not reduce in response to exercise as much as you would like. It doesn't mean that it won't reduce, but you may need to be more patient. Genetically, it may be that you have a predisposition to excess fat in the legs, and although it may be more difficult to lose you can still make some changes with regular exercise.

So hang in there, keep up with your exercise, and try not to be too hard on yourself. Remember that there are many, many other benefits of fitness in addition to the cosmetic benefits; try to enjoy all of those benefits and you will be well served.

Member question: Many people say they do weight before cardio. Can you do cardio before and after weight training?

Weil: Yes. You can do your cardio before weight training. In fact, many people enjoy it that way, because the muscles are warmer and loose and people report that the weight lifting feels better when the muscles are warm.

The concern about cardio before weight lifting is that the cardio will wear you out and you will not get the same resistance exercise workout because you're tired. That would be true for people who do vigorous or hard cardio workouts and are concerned more about their weight lifting benefits than their cardio. In that case, then they should do just a brief and light aerobic warm-up, maybe 10 minutes of light cardio and then weights. But if you're not just focused on weight lifting results then cardio before is fine.

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