I've always thought of smoothies as healthy snacks, but some taste very sugary. How many calories are in the average smoothie?
Smoothies come in all shapes and sizes. One from your gym's juice bar is probably more nutritious than one you'd find at the mall. A 24-ounce smoothie might have 300 calories, or it might have 650. While many are made with mostly fruit and ice, others contain frozen yogurt, sherbet or high-calorie juices.
Because nutrition charts aren't readily available with foods like smoothies, you need to listen to your body. If something tastes too sweet, your body is telling you it doesn't need that sugar.
For a more healthful smoothie, try blending your own.
I'm 79 years old and would like to join a senior exercise class. Am I too old? What goes on in these classes?
You are never too old to exercise, but a doctor's clearance is a must. Senior fitness classes tend to focus on balance, stretching, light strength training and coordination exercises.
Karen Aylor-Chenoweth, senior fitness class instructor at Meadow Mill Athletic Club, says her students are mostly in their 60s and 70s (with some in their 50s and a few in their 80s). In addition to light free weights, she uses Swiss balls and chairs to mix things up in class. Classes generally run 50-60 minutes and are, she says, "a safe, fun environment for older adults."
A friend who does Pilates mentioned a position called "the plank" that really tightens the stomach muscles. How do I do it?
Not only is the plank good for the abdominal area, it strengthens your entire core, including your lower back and pelvis (you may even feel it in your arms and legs).
Prepare as if you were going to do a push-up, then place your forearms on the floor instead of your palms. Grasping your hands together, lift your body up so your weight is on your forearms and toes. Keeping your back flat, hold this position for 30 seconds. If this is too difficult, keep your knees on the floor as you would with an assisted push-up.
Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.