Probably not. Sports drinks provide a significant benefit to performance primarily during extended exercise sessions. If you were going to exercise for longer than an hour or so, especially in hot or humid conditions, a sports drink would be helpful. For 30 minutes of activity, plenty of cool water is probably sufficient.
I want to know how hard I should work during exercise, but have a hard time finding my pulse. Is there any other way to gauge how hard I should work?
The “talk test” is a good alternative way to determine whether or not you are working at the proper intensity. If you cannot carry on a normal conversation without becoming breathless, you probably should slow down. If you can sing without becoming breathless, perhaps you should speed up a bit. Remember that there is a wide range of exercise intensities that provide health and functional benefits. Any activity at least as vigorous as brisk walking will provide benefits. Obviously, if you are trying to improve your maximal performance in order to compete in a running or bicycle race, higher-intensity exercise will be necessary. To learn how to take your pulse visit our “Developing a Routine” section.
I am over 50. Everyone tells me that I should be incorporating strength training into my exercise routine, but no one tells me why.
Strength training, combined with adequate dietary calcium intake, can help preserve bone mass and prevent osteoporosis. Having adequate strength also will give you greater functional capacity, prevent disability and frailty, and preserve independence as you become older.
We recommend a balanced exercise program that includes activities that build aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. All are important to function, especially for the elderly.
Are sit-ups considered dangerous?
No, there has been a lot of misunderstanding on this issue. It is wise to observe some do’s and don’ts regarding sit-ups. Do sit-ups with the knees bent, not straight. Do exhale when coming up.
Don’t hold your breath. Don’t pull on your neck. Do cross your arms over your chest or place your hands beside your ears. Do “crunches” (raise only your head and shoulders from the floor) if sit-ups hurt your lower back.