Q: We are a group of men and women. We are into walking, but we find our legs get tired soon and some of us get aches and pains. The average age of our group ranges from 30 to 40. Can you suggest some exercises to strengthen and flex our leg muscles so that we can improve our walks and make them painless'
MC, by e-mail
It is very important to get your leg muscles strong for your regular walk. Here are a few exercises which will help you to build your leg muscles strong and healthy.
a) Lift and kick ' targets buttock and thighs
Bend your knees to 90 degrees and lift your right leg; your thigh should be parallel to the floor.
In a smooth motion, sweep your leg back, pressing through your heel and squeezing your buttocks.
Without touching the floor, lift your leg up in front again and repeat. You can balance against a chair or wall if necessary.
b) Toe walk ' strengthens calves
Walk on the balls of your feet for 30 seconds. Repeat three times more.
c) Heel walk ' helps prevent burning shins
Walk for 30 seconds on your heels only, with your feet flexed and your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Repeat three more times.
d) Double toe raise ' works feet and shins
Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift just your toes,then lift the rest of your feet, with your heels staying on the floor. Lower your feet, then your toes. Repeat eight to 10 times.
e) Walking lunges ' strengthens all leg muscles
Take a big step forward with your left foot, then slowly lower your right knee toward the floor. Your left knee should be at a 90-degree angle. Press into your left foot and stand back up, bringing your right foot forward next to your left. Repeat, stepping with your right foot and continue across the floor. Do eight times with each leg. If it is too difficult, do lunges in place, eight on one side and then switch, and repeat on the other side.
Q: My father says that if I stop doing gym, all the muscles I have built will turn into fat. Is that true'
If you are working out regularly at the gym, which I suppose you are, and using weights to define your muscles, then it can be bad for your physique. Some fat might get accumulated in the muscles. But there's no reason why you can't practise at home. Never mind the gym, you can always keep your muscles toned by exercising regularly at home.