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What are good abdominal exercises for someone who has a bad back and shouldn't do sit-ups?

Halle Clarke, New York, NY
“A lot of conditions fall under the category of a "bad back" There is scoliosis, lordosis, stenosis, SI dysfunction, general weakness and other disc pathologies, to name a few. How one should strengthen the core varies on the medical reason for the bad back. Because you have been toldnot to do...” Read more
Franklin Antoian, Delray Beach, FL
“Good abdominal exercises for someone who has a bad back and should not do sit-ups include bridges, planks and half-crunches. In a half-crunch, just bring your shoulders off the floor and go back to starting position. ” Read more
James Weaver, Milford, CT
“The only time that I did sit-ups is when I was in the military. I don't recommend doing sit-ups, ever. The best exercises are crunches. When you do a crunch properly, there is no strain on your back. In order to do a crunch properly, you must have your back flat on the floor or on a mat. Place...” Read more
Charles Bell, Knoxville, TN
“Use a stability ball. This can take pressure off the problem area. Some other exercises that can be done by people with back issues include modified planks, which put pressure on the legs.” Read more
Bill Ross, Littleton, CO
“Your best exercise is going to be a plank on your knees. Then advance to a plank on your toes. You must make sure your core is fully engaged every time. Keep your back as flat as possible during the entire time. Your goal should be to hold the plank position for 60 seconds. There are many...” Read more
Andrea Metcalf, Chicago, IL
“A bad back is usually an indicator or a weak back side, including hamstrings and glutes. It is best to work on stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the glutes and hamstrings with bridging exercises. Check out free videos on my website for back pain exercises. www.andreametcalf.com” Read more
Jaime Marizan, New York, NY
“Lie face-up with both legs bent on the floor. Do a pelvis tilt up and down for two sets of 15 reps. Then move on to doing a pelvic bridge. Slowly raise both hips, creating an arch on the lower back.” Read more
Dan Kritsonis, Bellevue, WA
“Keep in mind that even the safest abdominal exercises can cause back pain if performed with poor form. Fortunately, there are numerous abdominal exercises, which, if performed correctly, will not hurt your back. To protect the back, your core muscles must be actively engaged. It helps if you...” Read more

I want to lose weight.

It only takes three letters to describe one of the weightiest words: Fat. But not all fat is created equal.

Visceral fat is practically invisible, collecting internally around major abdominal organs. It plagues mainly sedentary individuals. Even the naturally skinny (but lazy) can be victimized by visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the kind most people are all too familiar with - the fat that rolls over your waistband and pools under your chin. It's pinchable, pullable, pokeable, and resides just under the skin.

Aside from looking in a mirror, excess weight is determined by calculating one's body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a formula based on height and weight, and it separates people into four categories: underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. One is typically considered obese with a BMI of 30 or higher.

Excess weight amasses over time due to decreased physical activity, changes in hormone levels, and a metabolism that slows with age, causing fat to be burned…

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Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are the superstars of healthy fatty acids, improving the health of the heart, brain, skin and other internal organs and enhancing quality of life in myriad ways.

A fundamental building block for the body, this essential nutrient is part of the cell membrane and plays a role in the function of cell receptors. Omega-3 fatty acids work wonders for healthy bodies, making brains smarter and hearts stronger. For bodies fighting illness, this fatty acid is one of the most powerful nutrients, able to battle conditions ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) to cancer to depression.

There are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Scientists have not determined whether one type is healthier than the other. At any rate, most Americans lack both types.

Among the many health benefits of omega-3 fats, evidence is strongest for heart health. Omega-3's lower blood…

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Bikram yoga

Bikram Yoga—or "hot yoga"—is a version of yoga that takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees. Twenty-six hatha yoga-inspired poses and two breathing exercises are repeated twice during a typical Bikram yoga session.

Bikram yoga practitioners believe the body is something akin to wax—the hotter it gets, the more malleable it becomes. According to this theory, heat prevents injuries and allows more flexibility.

The inevitable sweat is also said to flush impurities out of the body (along with the usual benefits of yoga exercise).

This is not to say that the experience is entirely pleasant; the founder, Bikram Choudhury, has called the studios "torture chambers." Inversions (upside down poses) are not performed in standard Bikram practice.

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