The Fitness Republic regularly holds Q&A fitness discussions on Facebook. This discussion was hosted by a certified personal trainer, Maggie Young. The questions below were submitted by FR readers and answered by Maggie. Check the FR Facebook to be on the lookout for the next Q&A session.

Do you know of any exercises that a woman with a bad back can do to try to lose her belly fat?

There are definitely some ways of exercising that you can do to lose belly fat if you’ve got a bad back. There isn’t a specific exercise that will shed belly fat, but a combination of cardio and core strengthening exercises will be great to incorporate into your goal. Include cardio, which will help you burn calories and shed unwanted belly fat. For cardio, you can walk briskly, run, dance, use an elliptical machine at the gym, etc. Think about what you like to do to get your heart rate up. Choose something you like so that you can stick with it! To strengthen your abs without irritating your back, you can try doing knee planks. Lie face down on the floor and support yourself by pushing up with both arms. Hands should be at shoulder width and directly under you. Your knees will be resting on the floor and your head should be in a neutral position. Make sure to keep your back straight as well. Hold this for 30 seconds to 1 minute and complete 3-5 sets. This exercise won’t irritate your back as you have the support of your knees, but it will work on strengthening your core and this will help eliminate future back pain. In addition, you can try foam rolling on your back to improve your mobility so that you can participate in more abs exercises. Remember to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

What are the best exercises to help detox the body after quitting cigarettes?

There aren’t specific exercises that detox, but a comprehensive workout program with both cardio and strength workouts will improve your lung capacity and muscle tone for a healthier body. As with any workout program, consult with your doctor before beginning. Start slowly and listen to your body. I would begin by incorporating some jogging a few times per week. You can do a jog/walk pattern as you are building up your endurance. In addition, I would begin with some bodyweight training 2-3 times per week including pushups, squats, triceps dips, and lunges. The Fitness Republic offers great video tutorials that will help guide you through the movements.

How do I get started with a beginner’s routine?

The first step is to take a look at what you enjoy while being physically active in your everyday life. Have you always liked to dance? Do you enjoy going on evening walks with your family? Do you usually have time for a quick ab routine before bed each night? The trick is to pair what you enjoy with the time that you have in your schedule. By staying within your time limits and participating in activities you enjoy, you will be far more likely to stick with your routine and achieve your fitness goals. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning a routine, and start slow. Aim to do something active each day, even if it’s something as simple as 10 pushups or a 10-minute walk. Every little bit helps add to your overall health and motivation for continuing your fitness journey!

What type of cardio will burn the most fat?

I would recommend HIIT. This stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It involves quick bursts of cardio alternating with rest periods of slower cardio/movement. For example, you could jog for 5 minutes to warm up, and complete 5 intervals of 20-30 sec. sprints with 2 minutes of jogging/walking in between each and end with a cooldown jog. The great part is that you can do this with any exercise of your choice. For example, you could do 20-30 seconds of jumping jacks, burpees, pushups, etc. In addition, you can increase/decrease the number of sets and amount of time spent in each interval. HIIT kicks your metabolism into high gear for the rest of the day and burns through glycogen stores if you really go all out. It doesn’t put as much wear and tear on your joints because it doesn’t require as much time spent exercising as regular steady-state cardio would. Consult with your doctor before beginning and start slowly. Aim to perform HIIT 1-3 times per week!

About the Author: MAGGIE YOUNG

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