Diet plans should include various foods and exercise

Fitness Q & A

Q & A

December 03, 2004|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I've been shopping around for a diet plan. What should I look for in a plan that's healthy and actually works?

To find a plan that doesn't harm, confuse or deprive you, keep these key points in mind. A healthy diet should:

Be high in complex carbohydrates (including vegetables) and low in fat and sugar.

Allow you to eat a variety of foods.

Encourage regular exercise.

A healthy diet plan should not:

Promise weight loss of more than 2-3 pounds a week.

Leave you feeling hungry.

Claim a bottle of pills or magic cream will make you thin.

I've started walking for exercise. I carry mini-weights, but how else can I maximize my sidewalk time?

Walking is the perfect exercise for those whose bodies can't handle higher impact workouts, or who simply want to supplement other activity. Here are a few guidelines for getting the most out of your walks and for turning a stroll into a workout:

Maintain good posture. Keep your head still, chin up and abdominal muscles tight.

Walk with a purpose, keeping your strides long and easy.

Get your arms into it. Bend them and swing smoothly from the shoulder.

Mix it up. Add hills and stairs to your route whenever possible.

Please recommend an exercise I can do to firm up my backside at home without exercise equipment.

To trim and tighten your backside without the help of pricey stair climbers and Nautilus machines, try this at-home toner:

Lie on your back, knees forming a right angle, heels on a chair or sofa. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your arms should be at your sides, palms down.

Raise and tighten your backside, forming a straight line from chest to knees. Hold for a beat, then slowly lower. Do three sets of 10 daily, working up to three sets of 25, twice daily. In a matter of weeks you will notice a difference.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun.com, or online at baltimoresun.com/healthscience, or in writing to Fitness Q&A, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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