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Ask an Expert: Balancing cardio workouts with active recovery

Q: Would it be a bad thing to do daily cardio workouts without any days off? I've been doing about 20 to 50 minutes of cardio a day for the past three months in hope of getting results quickly. I don't want to delay getting my new body, but I also don't want to cause any problems.

Ask an Expert: Beginning an exercise program

Q: "Year after year, I make a New Year's resolution to start exercising. And I never keep it up past about March. What can I do differently this year to finally succeed?"

Ask an Expert: Bouncing back after time off from exercise

Q: How long does it take to get out of shape? I couldn’t exercise for a while in December, and am wondering how much my fitness level may have declined. When I get back to the gym, how long would it take to get back in shape?

Ask an Expert: Can supplements help increase muscle mass?

Q: “I’m an 18-year-old male and I would like to start working out to gain mass, as well as definition. What would be the best and safest supplement to use to get quick results?”

Ask an Expert: Can supplements substitute for strength training?

Q: “I am a very skinny 16-year-old and I want to gain muscle. The problem is, I don’t have enough time to lift weights or run regularly. Are there any vitamins or nutritional supplements that would help me gain muscle without exercise? If so, which ones do you recommend?”

Ask an Expert: Cardio workouts you can do at home

"I'm a 17-year-old boy, and I'm looking for a challenging cardio exercise that I can do in my apartment. I lift weights three times a week, so I'm looking for something that will let my muscles rest while pumping up my heart rate.”

Ask an Expert: Counting calories

Q: How important is it to watch calories if I want to lose weight? It seems most diet plans today focus on total fat intake, or the total amount of protein vs. carbohydrates. Do I still need to pay attention to calories?

Ask an Expert: Energy drinks: Is there a downside?

Q: “My teenage kids and their friends are all into ‘energy drinks’ like Red Bull and Rockstar. They like how these drinks make them feel ‘up’ – but is there a downside?”

Ask an Expert: Exercise and the Holidays

Q: I look forward to the holidays except for one thing: I know I'll stop going to the gym, gain weight and arrive at January 1st feeling pretty bad about myself. Do you have any advice to help me avoid that pattern this year?

Ask an Expert: Exercise to increase metabolism

Q: How much time do I need to devote to exercise each week to make a positive impact on my metabolism?

Ask an Expert: Exercising at the right intensity

Q: What intensity should I aim for in my cardio workouts?

Ask an expert: Fat facts

Q: First, fat was bad. Then some fat was good and some was bad. Now we’ve got trans fats to worry about. It’s getting so complicated! Please explain the differences between fats and what I need to know about them.

Ask an Expert: Finding Time for Fitness

Q: A year ago, my doctor told me to start exercising to lower my blood pressure and lose weight. I started doing 30-minute workouts a few times a week – either jogging or using an elliptical trainer – and my blood pressure did go down, but my weight didn’t. Now I hear that you have to exercise 60 to 90 minutes every day to lose weight. That sounds impossible – I work and have a family. Can you offer any realistic ideas to help me work in that many workouts?

Ask an Expert: How do I get started on an exercise program if I’ve been a couch potato all winter and spring?

Q: The weather has been so bad, I’ve basically been a couch potato. Now that the weather’s improving, I want to get out this weekend and get active. How should I begin an exercise program?

Ask an Expert: How many calories should I drink each day?

Q: “How many of my daily calories should come from beverages? I realize that the calories in my daily lattes and occasional sodas, sports drinks and beers add up, but are there any actual guidelines on what, and how much, we’re supposed to drink every day?”

Ask an Expert: How much strength training should I do?

Q: “I am a 47-year-old woman, I weigh 155 pounds, and I am very physically active. Currently, I do more cardio than strength training. How many times a week should I be doing strength training?”

Ask an Expert: Losing that beer belly

Q: What does it take to get rid of a beer belly? Are there certain diet or exercise programs that work best?

Ask an Expert: Losing the love handles

Q: “I’ve been working out for three years, focusing mainly on weight lifting, and I’m starting to get bulkier and to gain muscles. However, I still have some visible body fat. My ultimate goal is to become very lean and ripped. What is the best and fastest way to lose the fat – especially the love handles?”

Ask an Expert: Strength training for kids

Q: My 13-year-old son is a competitive basketball player, and my husband would like him to start lifting weights to add upper body strength and bulk. My son is definitely into puberty, but is it safe for young teenagers to lift weights?

Ask an Expert: Super-slow weight training

Q: "What is super-slow weight training? Is this method something I should consider trying?"

Ask an Expert: The benefits of aerobic exercise

Q: "My husband does a lot of strength training, but refuses to include any aerobic exercise in his routine. I'm worried that he's losing out on some important health benefits, but he doesn't buy it. Can you convince him?"

Ask an Expert: Training for bicycling events

Q: "I'd like to get back into exercise this year and am interested in cycling. Can you share pointers on getting in shape for that? I'm not out to win any races, but I do think it would be fun to participate in some cycling events."

Ask an Expert: Weight gain after workouts

Q: "I’ve been working out for about three weeks now, and I have actually gained weight. Is this normal? What should I do if it isn’t? I eat right, and my workouts consist of 30 minutes of cardio followed by 30 to 40 minutes of weight lifting, five days a week.”

Ask an Expert: Which is better in a workout: Intensity or duration?

Q: "I just purchased an elliptical trainer, and after three weeks of 30-minute routines every other day, I’m finding that staying in my ‘target heart rate’ zone is too easy. A higher level feels right – rigorous, but not too hard. The trouble is, at this rate, I am working at my ‘maximum heart rate’ – about 150 to 176. Would I be better off staying with my current high intensity level, or backing off on the intensity and doing a longer workout?"

Forms Instructions

Ask an expert: Gearing up your body for a cycling event

Q: “I have five weeks to train for Providence Bridge Pedal. Is that enough time? What should I do between now and then to get in shape for the ride?”

Proprietary Health Article

Ask an Expert: Shape up this summer with expert exercise advice

Everyone gets motivated to get more active when the summer sun comes out. Before you get started, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success and preventing injury by considering these tips from our experts.

Bicycle training schedule

The schedule below provides a guide to training for a 24-mile event, such as the Providence Bridge Pedal.

Providence Stop-Smoking Resources

If you smoke, one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health is to quit smoking. Providence Health & Services supports you in this effort. The resources below can help you stop smoking for good.

Recommended Resource

Healthwise Learning Center: Fitness and exercise

Physical activity is not just for jocks. It's for everyone. Being active can help you stay healthy, control your weight, and get the most out of life. No matter what your age or condition, there is a type of exercise that's right for you.