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Exercise and Fitness

Elliptical workouts

01/11/2008

Question:

I`m a 51 year old male. I am curently trying to quit smoking and have started working out again on an elliptical machine at my local gym. My workout basically consists of 65 minutes of training on the elliptical machine using either the cardio workout or the "random" workout. My heart rate during the workout usually starts at 109 and peaks at 155. I actually have a couple of questions. First, which of those 2 workouts is best for my age, ( I am in good health other than my smoking), is my peak heart rate normal for someone my age and lastly, will these workouts also help me with weight loss? Thank you.

Answer:

Congratulations on your decision to quit smoking and begin exercising again!

As long as your physician has cleared you for your exercise program and you are not on any medications altering your heart rate, I would not have any concerns with your heart rate being that high during your workouts. It would only become a problem if you started experiencing any unwanted side effects (e.g. chest pain, dizziness, nausea, etc.). In those cases, I would decrease your exercise/workout intensity and follow-up with your physician.

As far as your question regarding the choice of programs on the Elliptical trainer, I would suggest alternating between the two. By using different programs, you will reduce exercise boredom, work the muscle groups differently, and help reduce the risk of injury.

Cardiovascular activity is great for preventing weight gain and great for weight management, but when used alone, it's not the perfect method for weight loss. Some people may be able to continue to eat as they always have and lose a few pounds just by adding daily or almost daily exercise. The people for whom that works tend to have the least weight to lose and are usually eating pretty well to begin with. For most people, some kind of dietary change is going to be needed to complete the picture, since any good you do with exercise in terms of weight loss can easily be undone with the wrong diet. Therefore, it may also be helpful to consult a registered dietitian to review your diet to determine if you are eating in a manner that will best help you reach your goals. Weight loss will only be successful if you commit to lifelong healthy eating and a regular exercise program. Give yourself time to adjust to a new routine and make it a part of your daily life. Good luck to you.

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Response by:

Rachael   Dotson, BS Rachael Dotson, BS
Program Manager
Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati