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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.
Send us your questions for Harriet and Rachelle » and please leave your comments on the Q&A below
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Volumes I - IX
Volumes X - XIV
Volumes XV - XVIII
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Someone wrote to your column asking where to find a Nordic ski machine. I have one I brought from the US and do not use. Please contact me at 0545628953.
Q: I have COPD and Ostiperosis and exercise daily on the treadmill.
At the same time an instructor is giving exercises to a class and insists on opening windows. Since the pollen count (trees) in my area is high at this time of the year, this causes me to have extreme shortness of breath.
Since we have air-conditioning, I have requested that the windows be kept shut while the pollen count is high, but the instructoir says that fresh air is necessary for her class.
A: It is very important that people with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exercise and I am glad to read that you walk on the treadmill. When the weather is suitable, that is, not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, with low pollution and smog levels you can walk outdoors as well. Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga would be good additions to your cardiovascular workout to help strengthen muscles, work on balance and on stretching. They too would help with the osteoporosis. As for the air conditioner problem the only solution I see is for you to exercise at a different time. When a class is going on the teacher must decide what will work best for her group.
Q: I suffer from Asthma so when I attempt to do any exercises simple as walking distance I get out of breath. What exercises can I do to lose weight?
A: People with asthma can exercise and there are even world class athletes who compete although they have asthma. This attests to the fact that medications for asthma can be very effective in controlling the symptoms.
First, you must work with your health care provider to see that your medications are working for you. Each person has a different protocol for their medications. With your doctors permission you may begin an exercise program.
For asthma, swimming is an excellent choice since it is done in a warm, moist environment. However your aim is to lose weight, therefore you may want to choose walking, cycling, aerobic classes, and/or walking on a treadmill.
Always use your inhaler before exercising.
Warm up gradually and you will likely need extra warm-up time to help prepare your body for the higher intensity exercise that will follow. Exercise at an appropriate level for you. Gradually you can increase the intensity of the exercise. If you feel symptoms, stop and use your inhaler again, then continue when your breathing is ok again. If this happens again go to your health care provider to be checked.
Do not do too much too soon. Avoid polluted environments and very cold or hot air. Exercise indoors if this is the outdoor situation. When necessary, rest. Do a gradual cool down.
These are guidelines for cardio training that will help with weight loss. The other very important part to help with weight loss is strength training. This is unlikely to cause an asthma attack if you rest between sets.
An exercise program not only will help you with weight loss but with stress relief. It can help you sleep better and feel more energized. Stick with it and you will achieve your goal and will feel great too.
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Q: I am a 27 year old female living in Israel. For the past 5 years, I've had an IUD inserted to prevent conception. I've recently taken it out because time was up and also because my period pains were becoming severe. The doctor gave me birth control pills (meliane) and I've been reading a lot about the pill and its side effects. I'm really worried about taking them. I'm also getting married soon and afraid of any weight gain.
Is there a special diet or exercise program I should be considering while being on the pill so as to avoid the side effects? Or no matter what I do, there will be a chance of weight gain?
Thanks for your help.
A: While many medications have side effects, they affect people differently. Some people aren't negatively affected by medication, while others who may be more sensitive, can be affected by even low doses of a particular drug. I recommend that you discuss your concerns with your gynecologist who can advise you about the most suitable birth control pill for you.
In the meantime, a combination of healthy eating and cardiovascular and strength training exercises are important for a healthy lifestyle and to maintain an appropriate weight. If you feel you need help getting started, a consultation with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer can help you begin to reach your health and weight goals.
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Q: I was told at 50 I should exercise more, so I swam two or three days a week, I have kept my skirt size down, look younger than I am but no-one told me that swimming would increase my already more than sufficient bust! This is bad news for plastic surgeons but good news for
girls who want a few more curves - meanwhile I am trying to eat less to lose the extra inches I did not need! Have you any comments on this and is this problem common?
A: It is important that we exercise no matter our age. Exercise can take many forms and should be suitable for what you like to do as well as your fitness goals.
Swimming, your choice of exercise, is an excellent one since it helps build endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. It exercises almost the entire body, the heart, lungs and the muscles with little joint strain.
What it does not do is help prevent osteoporosis, since it is so low impact.
It also is not good for losing weight. According to the on-line Merck Manual this is due to the cooling effect of being in the water. While swimming, you are burning calories but that stops when you get out of the pool whereas with other forms of exercise, for example, jogging, cycling, or vigorous walking there is an increase in metabolism for many hours after the actual exercise. Since you are constantly losing heat to the water the body will protect against this by increasing the insulation near the skin...fat. If you are trying to get very lean, swimming is not the way to do it.
I am not familiar with the particular problem of gaining in one area but you could try varying your exercise routine to include walking, or jogging or cycling. This may help you lose any unwanted fat. Remember that when you lose fat it goes from all parts of your body not just one part. Genetics play a role as well.
Check with a nutritionist to see that you are cutting down on the foods that will help your needs and that you are getting enough calories and a balanced diet as well.
Keep up the good work of exercising and good luck.
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Q: I am a 45 yr old female. I lost over 70 lbs 2 yrs ago but I have so much loose skin and fat in my upper and lower abdominal area. Please advise me as to what exercises, if any can tighten this area.
Desperate in Louisiana,, USA
A: Well done for losing all that weight. You will, no doubt, appreciate the health benefits you will derive from a healthier weight. Unfortunately, spot training is a myth and it is not possible to do any exercise to lose weight in a particular area. Aerobics will burn fat throughout your body and strength training will tone muscles but will not convert fat to muscle.
Loose skin is a common problem after losing a lot of weight. I suggest you consult a plastic surgeon as this may be your only option for getting rid of loose skin. I encourage you to exercise, both cardiovascular and strength
training, for the long-term health benefits you will derive.
Q: After a 25 minute run (last week), I voided and the urine was quite red. I understand this is a case of cellular breakdown as a result of dehydration. Is that the case? Should I be concerned? Should I consult physician? I have not run since this incident and there is no indication of blood.
A: Yes you should see a physician to rule out any problems.
Q: I have a nordic ski track that I use regularly. However this is my third one (first two I used until they broke). Do you know of any importer that brings these in?
A: RAM Sport in Givat Shaul in Jerusalem carry ski machines, but not Nordic. MegaSport used to import Nordic Track but stopped about 6 months ago. They do carry elliptical trainers, walkers, bikes etc. They do not know of any other Nordic importers here either. UniSport does not carry it. You may have to try another type of machine unless a reader knows of an importer here for the Nordic ski machines.. Sorry we cannot be of more help with this.
Q: I jog a few times a week in NY. We will be spendng time in Jerusalem the next two weeks on metudela near aza. Can you let me know about any nearby gyms or facilities which have treadmills available? Thank you.
A: The Jerusalem International YMCA is walking distance to Metudela and Aza. They have a fitness room with treadmills, elliptical trainers, bikes etc. as well as various classes. They also can direct you to great areas for outdoor jogging near your apartment.. We look forward to seeing you here and even jogging with you! For details call us at 02-625-8436, or come in to meet us.
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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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