Staying fit: Readers ask for best exercises, opinion on gyms


    Over the past many months, I’ve gathered a variety of questions from folks about health, fitness, and exercise.  In this column, I seek to answer a few of them.  I hope they will be useful to you, loyal readers!
            Q. What would be some of the best exercises, if I only have a limited amount of time?
            A.  For basic movement and getting your heart pumping, I suggest walking at a brisk pace.  For upper body strengthening, the pushup activates up to 100 different muscles. For lower body strengthening, the lunge is the best all-over leg exercise.
            Q. Do I need to join a gym in order to be healthy or get fit?
            A.  In a word, no.  Some people find it helpful accountability to have a place to go to in order to focus on their fitness goals.  Others discover that paying for a gym membership motivates them to get up and out the door to pursue their healthy lifestyle.  But, whether it’s walking, riding your bike, doing body-weight exercises in your basement, using a DVD, or sweating with the Wii, you can be healthy and get fit without a gym.  It’s really your personal choice.
            Q.  What’s the best way to stay on a fitness plan?  What is the best way to overcome obstacles to remaining true to my health goals?
            A.  In another word, accountability.  By having someone else as part of your plan, you greatly increase your odds of staying on point.  You could have a workout buddy, post your goals for public viewing on Facebook or other internet sites that help you meet your goals.  You also could ask a friend or spouse to push, pull, or encourage you.  Having some type of accountability activates the willpower, and motivates us to stick with it.  If someone else is in the picture, you won’t want to let that person down, or have him or her jump on your case.  With accountability, you will enjoy greater fitness success.
            Q.  Why do you write this column?
            A.  I have always enjoyed fitness and health, enjoyed writing, and liked helping others.  This column connects all three of those desires in one place.  I certainly am not a fitness guru, but I hope that what I’ve offered has been encouraging, challenging, and helpful to readers pursuing fitness and healthy living.  When it’s no longer helpful, I’ll stop.
Keep your questions coming!  Let’s get moving together in 2013!
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