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Ask the Anytime Gal | Fitness Matters
Expert answers to your health and wellness questions
By Heather O’Brien
About the author: Heather O’Brien is a Certified Personal Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Norristown, PA. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: My friend recently just started up Pilates classes and wants me to join. Is it worth the expense and/or are there any other options to get the same benefits?
Answer: Pilates is great because virtually anyone can do it. Modifications can be made for beginners and moves can be made more challenging for advanced exercisers. Pilates is a cross between yoga, stretching, and calisthenics, and focuses on strengthening the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, lower back muscles, and hip flexors. Having a strong core is important for proper flexibility, posture, and balance with everyday activities. Many people are skeptical about joining a Pilates class because they can be relatively expensive. However, there are other options, such as doing your own Pilates exercises right in your own living room! A classic example of an at-home Pilates exercise is “the hundred,” where you are sitting in a ‘V’ position, balancing on your tailbone and pumping your arms until you reach 100 pumps. Bottom line—if you’re looking for a great exercise regimen to strengthen your core and give you a great overall workout, I’d give Pilates a try!
Question: I know water is great for my health and hydration, but I get really tired of drinking it all the time. Are there any other healthy alternatives that will allow me to hydrate just as well?
Answer: Water is optimal for quenching your thirst and it’s important for many bodily functions, but many people just get bored with it and yearn for something else. A great way to spruce up water is to add fruits and vegetables right to the glass or pitcher. Add a citrus flavor to your water with orange or lemon slices, add cucumbers, or for a hint of sweetness, add strawberries or another sweet fruit. Another option is flavored seltzer water, or make your own seltzer by combining your favorite juice with seltzer water. Tea is another healthy alternative that can quench you’re thirst, as well as providing immune-boosting antioxidants that can help repair oxidative damage done to the body. If all else fails, try watering down a juice you like, or even better, try juicing your own fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the hydration and nutrients it needs.
Question: I am someone who regularly skips meals and workouts, thanks to both a busy work schedule and family life. I’m wondering if you have any tips that might get me back on track.
Answer: Luckily, there are many people that lead busy lives while still finding the time for healthy meals and productive workouts—it can be done! You need to make sure that fitness and nutrition are priorities in your life. Once you make this commitment, doing the “right” thing will seem like a lot less work. Try taking an inventory of your week on Sunday night, figuring out which days are light and which ones are heavy in terms of work and family responsibilities. Then, you can schedule your workouts in your planner and resolve any meal planning issues as well. For example, maybe you need to pack more comprehensive snacks if you have a meeting during lunch, or maybe you need to create a reminder so you remember to take frozen meat out of the freezer the night before you cook it. These seem like small, almost trivial, changes, but they make a world of difference when you’re in a time crunch. We typically schedule things we don’t want to forget, so why not schedule meals and workouts too?