Q: I am looking for a new machine to mix up my cardio workouts. Can you explain the difference between an upright and recumbent bike?
A: Both type of bikes are effective at providing a quality cardiovascular workout. The difference between them will be your comfort level while on the machine. The recumbent bike might be a better choice if you suffer from back tension or pain. This bike usually has a full seat with a backrest to support you while you are exercising and handlebars at hip height and shoulder height for added support if needed. The recumbent bike also sits lower to the ground and will be easier to enter and exit the machine. Upright bikes will feel more like a bike you ride outdoors and will require you to sit upright and maintain good posture without the aid of a backrest. Both bikes will provide the ability to increase or decrease the amount of resistance as you pedal and will provide a variety of pre-programmed workouts in which the machine will change tension, mimicking pedaling on a flat road or pedaling on a hill.
Q: I’m hearing a lot about being “gluten free.” Can you explain what that is, and why you would choose to eliminate gluten from your diet?
A: Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grains such as barley and rye. Gluten is found in most breads, cereals, pastas and processed foods. There are three groups of people who eliminate gluten from their diet, either by choice or necessity.
The first group may have an immune-mediated wheat allergy, like Celiac disease. This group must follow a strict gluten-free diet, as gluten damages the intestines and triggers harmful allergic reactions that can be life threatening.
The second group of people who eliminate gluten may have unpleasant side effects because they have a non-immune gluten intolerance or a wheat/gluten sensitivity. This group may experience gas and bloating in particular after eating foods containing gluten. And some eliminate gluten by choice, seeing the elimination of gluten as a healthier way of eating. Anytime you replace refined grains and processed foods with natural food, you are going to feel better. This might not be the result of going gluten-free as much as it is just choosing more nutritious options when you’re eating (less processed food). If you feel you suffer from the various symptoms described from eating gluten, you should be evaluated by your physician to determine if you if you have Celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity issue.
Information provided by Chris Palso, owner, Anytime Fitness, West Des Moines, 225-3224, www.anytimefitness.com.