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— AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Cross-training shoes

“There are a lot of cross-training shoes on the market. Can you really do all types of training in the same shoe?”

— Sandy

Voorhees, New Jersey

While cross-training shoes have improved over the years, I would not do heavy lifting in the same shoes I’d use for running or walking. If you do heavy lifting in your running or walking shoes you will destroy the cushioning in the shoe that absorbs the force you put on your feet as you walk or run. According to Tom Brunick of Walking magazine, you should buy a run/walk shoe that has a polyurethane midsole that will give you added support and more durability.

For lifting weights, choose a shoe designed for weight lifting. These shoes have a stiffer upper than a regular running or walking shoe. The weight-lifting shoe also has a stable heel, which will help if you have weak ankles.

Keep in mind an expensive shoe doesn’t mean you’re getting good quality. Make sure you try the shoe on with the type of sock you’ll be wearing during your exercise. Remember shoes are just as important as the exercise.

Change my personality

“I know that exercise can improve your body, your health and your self-esteem. Does that mean recovering drug-dependent people can benefit from exercise? Drugs destroyed my once pleasant personality. I can use a change in my personality.”

— Richard Jackson

Mississippi

A person who is rebellious, emotionally unstable, uptight and aggressive can change their personality through a regular fitness program. A good program will make you feel better, help to deal with stress, give you more confidence and make you more relaxed.

How does this happen? When we exercise our bodies produce pleasure hormones that have a calming effect on us. We also produce adrenaline, which helps in producing a feeling of confidence.

Before starting your program get a check-up. Start your program by doing 15 minutes of calisthenics. Try to do two or three exercises for each body part. The next day do 15 minutes of walking. Make sure you wear the right shoes and dress for the weather. Try to work out at least five to seven times a week for the best results.

Exercise can be a positive spark in your life and brighten up the worst personality.

My feet hurt

“I jog every day and my feet hurt almost every day. My doctor hasn’t found anything wrong. What can I do with my tired hurting, feet?”

— Lois

Philadelphia

If you’re a jogger or walker, play tennis or stand all day, make sure to give your feet some tender loving care. It only takes a few minutes a day and can help reduce pain, cramps and tiredness. Each day you should massage the whole foot gently. Then flex your toes upward toward the body and extend them by pointing the toes. From your ankle, roll the whole foot around. Stand on the ball of one foot and really press it into the floor, then do the supporting foot. Alternate holding your position for about five seconds. To give your feet the support they need, always wear the proper shoes for the activity you’re involved in. Sometimes you may have to use a professionally fitted shoe support. Ultimately, it will be well worth it. If you take care of your feet, they will take you wherever you want to go. If the pain continues see another doctor.

Ideal weight

“What is my ideal weight? The charts have me overweight and I work out four or five times a week. I eat wholesome meals and I think I look good. Help!”

— Barbara

Atlanta

Body weight charts weren’t designed to give you an ideal weight and they never seem to help. The most scientific way to determine your ideal weight is to determine your body’s composition of fat to lean muscle ratio. The percentages vary with sex and age. Here are some basic guidelines. Women age 16 to 29 should have 14 to 24 percent body fat. For men 16 to 29 it should be around 9 to 15 percent. To get a rough idea of your body fat percentage, pinch the loose skin on the back of your upper arm or the side of your waist between two fingers. If you pinch more than an inch you probably need to reduce your body fat.

If you think you have too much body fat, you need to do aerobics for at least 30 minutes seven times a week. This includes brisk walking, cycling, swimming or cross training.

Why sweat?

“Why do I sweat more after I finish my workout than I do when I’m working out?”

— Tina

Pittsburgh

The body has a certain amount of blood to send to various systems. Exercising causes blood to be shunted from the skin to the working muscle, which causes a buildup of heat. Exercises such as running, walking or biking allow sweat to evaporate during your workout. When you stop exercising, the body sends more blood to the skin, causing you to sweat and release excess heat. Cessation of sweating after a workout is a good way to gauge whether you have spent enough time cooling down.

Kids eating a good lunch

“I want my kids to eat a good lunch. But I have very little control of what they eat while they’re in school. How can I ensure them of a nutritious lunch away from home?”

— Adam

Atlanta

Getting your child to eat right at lunch can be a problem. Here are a few tips to keep your child’s lunch healthy and interesting:

Pack your child’s lunch two to three times a week.

Choose foods that are lean and low in fat. Tuna packed in water is a good example of low-fat, lean food.

Send milk in a thermos.

Use whole-grain breads instead of white breads. You’ve got to read the label carefully to get the right bread.

Make homemade cookies for a lunch dessert. Oatmeal cookies are great. Air-popped popcorn is another good choice.

You can include a brightly colored napkin or a note to brighten up your child’s lunch. Don’t make it too long — lunch is short, and their classmates might embarrass them.

Talk to your child about lunch to see what they do with their lunch. They may not be eating it. If they’re not eating the lunch, find out what they’re trading and try to make an adjustment with their lunch.

With a little creativity your child’s lunch can be fun and healthy and they’ll eat it.

Considering liposuction

“I’ve been dieting for years and I just can’t seem to get rid of my weight problem. I’m considering liposuction. Will liposuction remove the fat for good?”

— Joan

Philadelphia

Liposuction has become the most popular form of cosmetic surgery. It’s also becoming the latest weight-reduction fad. If you’re thinking about having this operation you might want to think about this fact. In a study done by Ohio State University Hospital, it was found that all the women studied who had liposuction began to gain weight in other areas of the body. A third of these women gained enough weight to increase their bra size.

The reason for the increase is fat. The body will try to balance its fat level to the previous level. In women, the fat tends to accumulate in estrogen-sensitive areas such as the breast.

You didn’t mention whether you’ve tried exercise or a reasonable eating plan to help to reduce your body fat. Reduce your fat intake gradually to 15 percent.

Beginning tomorrow morning start your day with a glass of juice, an apple and one banana. Later, at work have a large cup of fruited herb tea and skip the sugar and the other sweeteners. You can snack on air-popped popcorn without the salt and butter. For lunch have a large vegetable salad with one spoonful of low cal salad oil. Skip the cheese and avocado. For protein have skinless baked chicken or fish. Skip fried foods. During the afternoon, more popcorn and a cup of herb tea or low-fat milk.

At dinner have a baked potato, a large serving of steamed spinach and two slices of whole grain bread with just a spread of butter if you need to put something on your bread. Later have another glass of low-fat milk. Other dinner substitutes are brown rice and whole grain pasta. Try to drink six to eight glasses of water throughout the day.

If you eat like this every day for four weeks and walk, swim, cycle or do low-impact aerobics four to five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes, you will see results and you should be able to reduce your weight and keep it off.

Aerobic exercise and burning body fat

“Will aerobic exercise help me burn fat? How will I know when I’ve done enough?”

— Stephanie

Pittsburgh

Aerobic workouts will help you burn body fat if you do 30 minutes or more of continuous movement. It takes your body 20 minutes to switch to the fat-burning stage during a workout. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five to seven times a week. Try to keep your aerobic workout under 60 minutes. This way you won’t overdo it and you’ll decrease your risk of injury due to repetitive stress. Thirty to 45 minutes is ideal, but you may have to start below 10 minutes and increase your workout time gradually. Some examples of aerobic exercise include 30 minutes or more of brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, walking in a pool, aerobic dance and jumping rope. Workouts that include a lot of stop-and-go movements will burn calories but are not considered aerobic. Non-aerobic exercises include karate, volleyball, weight lifting, sprinting, tennis, ballet and gymnastics. If you’re trying to loose weight, aerobic workouts with a proper eating plan will help you see results within a few weeks.

Beans

“Are beans a good for a healthy diet?”

— Lois

Chicago

Many people overlook beans and legumes when they think of delicious, appetizing meals. Beans and legumes are inexpensive meals. Beans have as much protein as most meats. They also have less fat and calories.

Beans cook better if they’re washed and soaked overnight. When cooking, cover the pot, bring them to a boil, then remove them from the heat and let stand for an hour. Then continue cooking until done. Season the beans with a vegetable bouillon cube, onion, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, basil or tomato paste. Health food stores sell instant bean soup mixes, which can be used to season your beans.

Be creative. Write and let me know how you like your beans.

If you have a fitness question or concern, write to “Tips to be Fit,” PO Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105 or send an email to tipstobefit@gmail.com. Past articles can be found at www.phillytrib.com by searching “Tips to be Fit.”

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