COLUMNIST: Fitness Matters, So Ask Anytime

Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

HarrisBy Daniella Harris.

Question: I see kale mentioned everywhere these days. It seems to be used as an ingredient in many recipes such as soups, smoothies and even used to make potato chips. What are the nutritional benefits of kale that makes this vegetable so popular?

Answer: Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, and more calcium than milk. It’s high in vitamins A and C – with only 30 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of fat per cup. This vegetable aids in digestion, provides anti-inflammatory benefits, and is heart healthy. When buying kale, look for firm, deep-colored leaves. Store kale in a plastic storage bag or container and remove as much air from the bag as possible. Kale can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Question: My gym has a few different types of elliptical trainers. Is there really a difference? If so, how do I choose which one is best for me?

Answer: Using an elliptical trainer is generally considered a low impact form of cardio and can be less stressful on your knees, hips and back. However, proper fit is essential and it’s important to find a model that is comfortable for your height and body structure. When moving the pedals, your feet should push behind you slightly, just as if you were walking on the ground. If your feet stay in front of you, the stride of the machine is too short and you’ll need to try another model. If you wish to mimic a climbing motion, you’ll want to choose an elliptical that has the “wheel” on the back. This type of elliptical has pedals that move up and down, and allow you to change the incline of the ramp. If you prefer a walking motion, choose an elliptical in which the “wheel” is on the front. This type of elliptical has pedals that move back-and-forth. Many ellipticals also have upper body handle bars that move with the pedals. You can use this type of machine with or without the use of the upper arm handles. If you do choose to use the upper arm handles, go with an elliptical that gives you plenty resistance so your upper body gets a good workout too.

About the author: Daniella Harris is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Somerset. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at AskAnytime@anytimefitness.com.

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