You Ask We Answer: Your Health & Fitness Q’s

fitnessRecently, I was interviewed by Julie Silver, owner of Acupuncture Healthcare Associates of Michigan for her health column in the Jewish News of Metropolitan Detroit. Julie is also on “Our Team” here at

Motivation is what gets you started exercising – making it a habit is what keeps you going – forever!

Julie: Can you briefly tell us the long term benefits of exercise on our body?

Allison: I could easily devote this entire article to the long term health benefits of exercise. But, to highlight a few of the most important benefits; regular exercise can help prevent many types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression and many other potentially serious, often debilitating conditions and illness. Some researchers and doctors today suggest that exercise along with proper diet and nutrition may even cure certain illnesses and extend life.

Julie: When should children start to exercise?  What is a good way to introduce exercise into a child’s life. Are there and exercise regimes that are more beneficial than others?

Allison: Kids can and should start exercising as early as possible. The type of exercise children will enjoy may differ depending on age, but it’s important to get kids moving as early as possible, because kids who exercise when they are young are more likely to stick with that good habit as adults. There is no age limit on when kids should start exercising. In addition to the health benefits of exercise for kids, running around and being physically active can help children to sleep better at night and reduce stress levels.

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day. The amount and type of exercise needed depends on the age and energy level of the child. Get Kids in Action ( recommends that all kids get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise every day, if possible. Toddlers may need as much as 90 minutes per day, while preschoolers can get two hours of exercise. For toddlers and very young children, playing tag, hide and seek or just running around at the playground for the morning may provide all of the exercise they need. For older children, consider taking a bike ride together or enrolling them in a sport or class they are interested in, such as karate or dance.

Julie: How can parents encourage their teenagers to exercise?

Allison: We all know that getting our kids off the couch and  their smart phones can be a daunting challenge, to say the least. Hopefully your teenagers are exercising in some way at least 3 days a week. Team sports, or after school activities, i.e., dance, martial arts, yoga, and working out at the gym are great choices for teens. Lead by example parents! Make a commitment with your teen to go to the gym or a regular fitness class. For less fitness minded kids here are a few suggestions: Plan weekend family activities that involve moving; biking, taking hikes, walk to lunch or dinner with your kids, assign chores that require moving and lifting – walking the dog, taking out the garbage, sweeping out the garage, carrying laundry up stairs, vacuuming, helping with grocery shopping – get creative parents!

 Julie: OK – now onto adults. Let’s say someone is in their 30’s or 40’s and have never exercised – it can be intimidating.

Allison: Start slow and easy for short periods of time to avoid injury and excessive muscle soreness. 10-20 minutes the first few times is ideal. Try walking with a pedometer to track your steps; add 100 hundred steps a day or 500 each week. Eventually you will be walking 10,000 steps per day approx, 5 miles. Walking with a pedometer is the easiest way to get motivated and moving. Select a beginners workout online that incorporates cardio, light weights and flexibility exercises and get started in the comfort or your home.

Julie: Can you tell us some basic guidelines for getting started exercising? Also, what is more important – cardio or weights?

Allison: Cardiovascular and resistance training are equally important and necessary to keep us heathy and strong. Generally speaking cardio strengthens our heart and lungs, helps maintains a healthy weight and aids in weight loss. Weight lifting (even light weights) strengthens bones, builds lean muscle mass, improves skin tone and keeps our body burning calories for longer periods of time. And, let’s not forget about flexibility – this is paramount! Without it our bodies become rigid and susceptible to injury. My favorite workout – interval training; combines cardio, weights and body weight work – for optimal results! This is where you get the biggest bang for your time and effort.

Julie: What are some guidelines for exercising on a weekly basis?

Allison: Adults need a minimum of 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week and 2 -3 days a week of muscle strengthening exercise that hits all of the major muscle groups ( legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.)

10 minutes at a time is fine. 150 minutes may sound like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Not only is it smart to spread out your workouts during the week – you can also break it up into mini sessions throughout the day. Just be sure to keep the intensity at a moderate to vigorous effort.

Take charge – Try going for a 10 minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. This will bring you to the minimum 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. Clip on a pedometer and start tracking your steps for more fun and motivation. Finally, your weekly fitness regimen should include balance and flexibility exercises at least twice a week.

How about older adults – how can they incorporate exercise into their lives?

Mall walking, water exercise and senior adult fitness classes at a local community center are ideal choices. I would also like to suggest (if at all possible) adopting a dog – they make the best friends and workout buddies! Contact the Michigan Humane Society or your local animal shelter today.

In closing – what suggestions, recommendations do you have for readers who want to learn more? Are there any websites you can recommend?

Sign up for for yoga videos to practice at home. for workouts and tons of motivation and information regarding your whole health, and for seniors;

Start moving today! You will get stronger just by trying!  Enjoy, Allison

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  1. Wonderful! Thanks, Allison.

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