Too fat to exercise, or just a confidence crisis

Tue, 14 Sep 2010

Once overweight, the issues of getting back to exercising are complex, but confidence is cited as one of the main obstacles, the ongoing lack of exercise makes things worse, and a vicious cycle begins. If jogging seems unthinkable, and a dumbbell seems to make a good door stop, how do we take that first step and what type of exercise do we do?

Step 1. Find your start point: Your metabolic rate, the rate at which your body burns calories

As you get older your metabolic rate slows, meaning that your body becomes less efficient at burning calories . The first step is to find out what your metabolic rate is, and make sure that your consumption of calories is not greater than that figure, add exercise to that and create a deficit to lose weight . To find out your metabolic rate use a respected formula such as the Harris-Benedict formula (BMR based on total body weight.)

Step 2 . How much should I do?

Just 30 minutes a day can improve your metabolic rate, increase bone density, improve muscle mass, and decrease body fat, not bad for a 2 per cent investment of time on your day! Exercise will increase your interest in your diet . Start by switching to low glycemic foods, complex carbohydrates, and lots of fruit and vegetables . Be sure to increase your water intake to at least 1 ltr per day.

Step 3. Going it alone is hard

Find a friend or a group environment where you feel comfortable to exercise. Research has shown that the support and camaraderie of group exercise triples your chances of success. Be patient! You didn’t put weight on overnight and neither will it come off overnight. Set yourself a target for the number of times and sessions you are going to do in a week. A good start would be 30- 45 minutes, 3 times per week. Allow yourself the occasional slip, and don’t throw the towel in because of it. Just accept that you are human and get right back on track!!

Step 4. What exercise should I start with?

Depending on your weight, if you are 2 stone or more overweight, start with non weight bearing exercises to avoid injury, such as swimming or cycling. Write everything down so you know you are improving, progression is key. If you are less than 2 stone overweight, mix cardiovascular with resistance from the outset.

• Walking is a great exercise to build into your week. Be sure to put your pedometer on and record how much you are doing in a week, and look to increase that.

• Swimming offers resistance and is therefore better than walking. There are often classes available and is readily accessible at local leisure centres.

• Cycling is a great way to start back at your local gym or invest in a new or second hand bike. If balance is a problem, you will need to start with a stationary bike in a gym or there are very cheap models you can buy for home now too.

Kimberly’s recommendation; Aim to do 6 weeks of cardio vascular work 3 times a week then change one of those sessions to a resistance training session. Resistance training or weights, has been shown to be superior to cardiovascular training in a weight loss program.
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