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Staying Fit: Rich Weil, MEd, CDE

Make the most of your fitness activities

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The bottom line is how your body responds and how you feel during the workout. There are no hard and fast rules. Experiment with cardio before and after and see how you feel and what results you get. That will ultimately determine which way you work out. Either way is acceptable.

Member question: Does a teenager's body metabolize faster than the average adult? How long on average would it take for a 17-year-old teenage boy, 140 pounds, to lose 20 pounds of fat doing regular exercise of running 3 miles every other day mixed in with about two hours of recreational tennis with a diet of an average teenager (cereal for breakfast, sandwich lunch, not so heavy dinner)? 

Weil: Average safe and healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week and not more. Your doctor can help you decide how much weight if any, you need to lose. For instance, if you're 6 feet tall and 140 pounds, you do not need to lose any weight. These are issues you should discuss with your doctor before going on any weight loss plan.

In general, three to five days of aerobic exercise and two to three days of resistance exercise is desirable, and then paying attention to your diet and calorie intake. You can also discuss your diet with your doctor or even check in with one of the dieticians on the WebMD web site if you have more diet-related questions.

Member question: We are thinking of a family bike trip during spring break. I like to ride and feel that it is the best way to prepare for this trip. However, some days it is too wet to ride. What training can you recommend for those days? I hate riding stationary bikes (too boring).

Weil: Any other aerobic activity will keep your heart and lungs in condition for biking. In fact, doing other activities may help with biking because the muscles will have a chance to rest, and the next time you get on the bike you may be fresher and stronger.

If you want more leg work and cardio together, and want to keep your legs strong for biking, you could jump rope or even climb stairs for your workout. Climbing stairs would be as close as you could come to the biking movement, either in your home or wherever you could find stairs. I don't recommend stair climbing more than once or twice a week because it is so vigorous, but a combination of the jump rope, which you could do indoors on a rainy day, and climbing stairs would help you stay bike fit.

Member question: I have an 11-year-old son who lives with his mother. My son is a bit on the heavy side. It happened once before, too, when his mother fed him too many apple juice bottles when he was 2 or 3. He slimmed down for a few years, but in the last three or so his weight has shot up and he has a larger tummy than I'd like to see. When I approach him about his weight and his eating habits, I feel bad because he cries and says, "You think I'm fat." When I approach his mother, she berates me or hangs up the phone. Any suggestions?

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