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Harriet and Rachelle are co-directors of Great Shape Studio at the Jerusalem International YMCA. For more information, see bottom of article.
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Volumes I - IX
Volumes X - XIV
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Q: My adult son is studying Krav Maga here in the States. We will visit Israel in June, 2008 and he is wondering if there is any chance he can visit a gym where they teach this form of self defense.
A: You didn't specify what city in Israel you will be visiting but most cities offer Krav Maga classes in community centers. When you arrive you should find out the schedule of the community center closest to you.
Q: I purchased an Integrity Air Rower (rowing machine with a big fan in front for resistance) and I do 30 minutes of rowing about 3 or 4 times a week.Â Is this type of exercise considered aerobic exercise or weight training exercise (because of the physical effort involved in the hand and shoulder muscles)?
A: This can definitely be considered aerobic exercise as you will work to raise the pulse rate and keep it up for the 30 minutes you will be rowing. Be sure to secure your feet and to use a smooth rowing action, without any jerky movements. Begin with relatively low resistance and gradually increase the intensity until you feel you are working at the intensity you want. Slow it down gradually, too. For more details on the correct form for rowing you may check out www.ascm.org. Their sections on rowing machines entitled The Proper Stroke and Proper Use of a Rowing Machine can guide you so that you do not injure yourself.
There is a reasonable degree of muscle endurance work with rowing but not work for strength gain. To strengthen muscles you must use heavier weights with slower reps and do sets but this is for another question. The rowing machine does not meet those criteria. So use it for the aerobic workout as well as for muscle endurance and find a different way to strengthen those muscles.
Q: With spondylolythesis, what kind of exercising can I do? I stopped high-intensity aerobics and now work with steps, no jumping; I use a 3 kilo weight, doing all the exercises lying down, plus lots of abdominal exercises, and back and arm exercises standing up.
Should I attempt running at all? I am 64 and have been exercising and/or taking modern dance classes all my life from age 5. Not doing intensive exercising is emotionally painful, but on the other hand, I do not want another bout of spondylothesis as I had a few months ago and couldn't get up at all for 2 weeks, followed by 6 weeks of being able to use a wheelchair, and progressing, with physiotherapy from there. I now do almost everything.
A: The forward displacement of one vertebra over the other (spondylolythesis) usually occurs in the 4th or 5th lumbar vertebrae.
Since I do not know the details of your particular problem or the extent of any damage I suggest that you find a professional personal trainer who specializes in working with these problems. The personal trainer would then consult with your physician and your physical therapist to help plan the best program for you. He/she would be able to answer your questions and to advise you on how best to continue with a safe and vigorous exercise program.
Reader's Comment: I would like to add something in regard to the question posed to you regarding the person who wants to take up running but does not know if it is safe. As a podiatrist who treats sportsment and runners, I would like to add a few very important points that were left out of the response.
Firstly, biomechanics, i.e the style of gai of the individual, is very important and should be checked out before taking up running. If a runner has faulty biomechanics, e.g overpronation, then the runner would be more prone to an injury from the running. What is needed is to be examined by a qualified podiatrist who deals with biomechanics before taking up running. The podiatrist can advise what type of running-shoe to buy (there are many different kinds of running shoes to suit different styles of running gait) and if orthotics/ innersoles are needed as well. lf the person follows the simple rules then there is no problem with running and it is totally safe.
Hillel Gluch Podiatrist
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Q: I've read on a dozen websites about the importance of incorporating a weight-training regimen to a weight loss program. Iunderstand why this is and I understand now how important it is to try and preserve if not gain muscle during weight loss. My question is this:
I do 30 mins of intense cardio six or seven days per week. I've lost about five lbs in two weeks and I know some of this is muscle. How much weight training can I do to preserve muscle/gain a bit of muscle? Shoud I aim for itnense 30-40 min workouts of specific muscle groups every 2-3 days + 20 mins of cardio or do I need to have a basic amount of weight-training.
I know with this I have to increase my protein intake as well. Is 1g/lb of bodyweight enough? Since my goal is to drop fat and become leaner...at this stage should I still try cutting some calories or should I eat more to try and gain more muscle with a secondary goal of trimming fat?
A: You are correct that you need to do strength training several times a week. This is imperative for all aspects of fitness and for weight loss. In fact, current research shows that, if you are unable to do both cardiovascular and strength training because of time constraints, it is more important to focus on strength training.
In addition to cardiovascular training, you should be doing a balanced strength training program, exercising all the major muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, pectorals, latissimus dorsi, all deltoids, biceps, triceps and core muscles of the abdomen and back). You should also do functional exercise, balance and posture work, in addition to working on improving your flexibility.
I strongly recommend that you meet with a personal trainer for one or two sessions to get you started in the right direction and to build you a personalized program for your goals and fitness ability. A few meetings with a registered dietician will also help you achieve your weight loss goals.
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Q: I love to run but people keep telling me that running is not good for you. Is that true? What can I do to prevent injuries?
A: Running can be very good for you if you use common sense and listen to your body. Here are some guidelines you can follow:
Do not subject your body to consecutive days of very intense running. If you have a very hard or long workout on one day either take the next day off or have a very easy run. Allow 48 hours for the muscles to recover and to build (even in training for marathons it has been found that you do not need to train every day).
Increase your mileage sensibly, gradually. Avoid doing too much too soon. A general guideline is to add not more than 10 % of the previous week's total distance. Exercising too much increases the risk of overuse injuries.
Incorporate an "easy" week into your exercise regime.
Do not run if you have pain. If you have a sudden pain when running stop, do not ignore it. It could be a sign of an injury and you must listen to your body. If your pain persists see a doctor, preferable a sports medicine specialist. Sore muscles are normal if you are a beginner but this soreness should be gone within 72 hours.
Replace your running shoes regularly; they wear out before you see the signs of wear and tear so if you can check your mileage change them about every 500 miles of running.
Run on a soft surface, for example hard packed dirt, if you can find it. Concrete sidewalks are hard on the body while the asphalt of roads is a little easier, but watch for traffic.
Remember to work on strength, stability, flexibility and balance along with your running to keep your body balanced and ready for more work.. Stretch after each run. Do not stretch when you are cold, before a run.
Give your joints and muscles a break occasionally and "cross-train". Engage in some other forms of low-impact joint-friendly exercises such as the elliptical trainer, swimming, and cycling in addition to your running. This will keep you physically and mentally ready to keep running.
Q: I'm going to a wedding at end of August - it gives me two months to lose weight and get into shape. I need an extreme diet and personal trainer to help me do both things; can u please refer me in any direction where to look for such pros. I belonged to a gym in Tel Aviv but I've been a veg for six months and need somebody like Oprah hasâ€¦
A: It is commendable that you want to lose weight and to get fit but there are no quick fixes. A long-term goal of weight loss and fitness will be more successful in the short run and then will be something that can stay with you.
Extreme diets are unhealthy and the end result is usually a bounce back of the weight you have lost and then some. I suggest that you meet with a nutritionist who can help you plan a realistic balanced and healthy diet. That could be your start and you will be amazed at how good you will feel and look even in the two months until your simcha. Check with your doctor's office or your Kupah for names of nutritionists in your area.
Strength training and aerobic training are the main keys to permanent weight loss and a personal trainer will be able to guide you in those areas. We only know trainers in Jerusalem. I suggest you call a gym in your area and see if they can give you some names.
Good luck with your search for professionals to help you with your goal and enjoy the wedding.
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Rachelle Oseran has 21 years experience as a fitness professional. She is certified by ACE (the American Council on Exercise). She is also a certified prenatal/postnatal exercise instructor. She has presented at international fitness conventions in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Far East.
Harriet Scher has 30 years experience as a fitness professional in the US and Israel. She is certified by ACE ( The American Council on Exercise) and Schwinn as an indoor cycling instructor, and is trained in Pilates.
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Cafe Oleh experts have been chosen for their knowledge and reputation. Cafe Oleh does not take responsibility for any advice they offer.
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