To provide you and your family with expert fitness and nutrition advice in a manner that is useful to you and that you can try at home, we are providing the answer to some frequently asked questions we get from our adolescent patients mostly and their parents.
- I want to play Sports; How do athletes build strength and muscle mass for high performance?
While health experts often tell people to lower their fat intake (animal products), our bodies require certain fats for health. Not eating enough of the right fats can reduce metabolic rate, impair muscle recovery, and reduce our performance levels.
The body needs “essential fatty acids” (EFAs) found in various concentrations in vegetable oils, for example, flaxseed oil and “cool milled” powder. EFA’s act as building blocks for muscles and joints where fat and protein are critical in growing strong.
2. What are the reasons “Cardio” exercise is Good for Our Health!
- Reduce body fat
- Improves sleep quality
- Strengthen circulatory system
- Improves heart and lung capacity
- Lowers blood pressure
3. What are the two Types of “Cardio”:
“Steady-State Cardio” activities such as walking, jogging, or riding a bike which elevate your heart rate and respiratory rate to 85% maximum or about 150 beats per minute (bpm) for most adults (> 180 bpm for children) for a long duration, burning calories at a consistent rate.
“Interval training” alternating periods of intense work with periods of less intense recovery, such as sprint drills on the track or soccer, is best for stamina and endurance and preferred by athletes.
4. What are “Shin Splints” that soccer players sometimes get?
- “Shin splints” is a term used to describe pain in the front of your lower leg, specifically across your tibia (shinbone). Sometimes the pain fades away while exercising, but it usually returns the next day and can worsen if ignored.
- This condition can be caused by running downhill, training in worn-out shoes, over-training and playing sports with a lot of stops and starts such as soccer, tennis, and basketball.
- If you have shin splints: – Treat them at home using the “RICE” technique, (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). – Take a few weeks off from high impact exercises such as soccer, running, jumping, kickboxing.
- Invest in a pair of shock-absorbing insoles or orthotics to correct your gait if necessary. – Stretch the lower leg both in the front (tibialis) and rear (gastrocnemius and soleus) every day. – Engage in cross-training activities that are different than your primary form of exercise.
5. Why is a BIG Belly harmful? (Adults call this a “Beer Belly” because people who drink too much beer have this kind of fat distribution).
- The fat around your belly is linked with greater health risks than any other part of your body – a waist circumference of more than 35 inches means you are at risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol and even type 2 diabetes. Follow these tips for accurately measuring your waist circumference.
- Stand straight, in front of a mirror.
- Position a tape measure horizontally at the top of your hip bone. Bring it around your abdomen and torso so it is level with your navel.
- Make sure the tape is parallel with the floor all the way around. Measure at the point where the two ends meet.
- Do not hold your breath while measuring
6. My 14-YEAR-OLD daughter is interested in working out, I have heard that weight training or too much cardio is not healthy for a growing young teen, is it ok to let them join in the fun? ~ Juliana
Juliana, you are correct. Heavy weight training for growing teens is not recommended. Too much stress can be applied to their growth plates (cartilage at the end of long bones where growth occurs), which can lead to injury. We often note a decrease in teen’s core strength and flexibility during rapid growth spurts. A calisthenic routine or group cardio class allow your teens to improve their fitness while their adjusting to their new height. Once teens have finished growing and have developed their secondary sexual characteristics their growth plates are generally closed, and a heavy weight training program can be initiated.
Bring your left knee towards your chest, touching your heel with your right hand and return to the start position. Repeat with your left knee, continuing to alternate legs. Remember: The faster you tempo, the more calories you’ll burn.