Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
© Copyright 2004 - 2011 , Trevor Johnson.
Is Exercise the Answer for Weight Loss and Obesity? - Part Two
In Part One of this topic, we discussed the importance of "lifestyle physical exertion" and looked at examples of behavior modification to build habits that increase our levels of calorie burning physical activity in our everyday activities. We discussed how this is more permanent, and therefore beneficial, than special exercise programs.
Certainly, adding "convention" exercising is also beneficial, too, though for the reasons described early in Part One are of shorter term benefit. Still, these shorter term benefits can be retained if they are underpinned with lifestyle physical exertion that you continue even after special "exercise programs" have passed their use-by date for you.
In choosing a temporary (even "long term temporary") exercise program as part of your overall approach to maximizing your health and resultant loss of excess body fat, the overweight or obese person needs to consider several factors:
Firstly, your choice must be something enjoyable. You will cease doing it much too soon if it is something you do not enjoy.
Secondly, it must not risk endangering your physical health. Ask your doctor for a check-up of your "vital statistics" and ask whether he/she has any cautions about what you are planning to undertake.
Thirdly, start gently. Over time, build up your exercise workload. Don't start out trying to be the fastest, or thinking you can run a marathon. Set gentle, modest, realistic workloads at first and increase it just a little - not a lot - each week.
Fourthly, often overlooked by all the never-had-a-weight-problem self-styled experts out there, obese people are simply incapable of doing certain physical activities, and risk injury if they try. Until your weight is approaching something normal, don't even think about high impact activities such as running. Apart from cardiac risks (which your doctor should discuss with you under Point Two), your risk of biomechanical damage is immense. Sprained ankles, shin soreness, knee damage and more will quickly result where an overweight or obese person attempts high impact exercising.
Fifthly, most obese people, or even people who have simply been overweight for an extended period of time, probably already have unrecognized biomechanical faults. Very few General Medical Practitioners understand or recognize the signs, much less appropriate treatment. (Too often, doctors treat the pain from biomechanical faults with pain killers without properly identifying the causes or knowing how to remedy the fault itself.) Find yourself a good sports podiatrist for a thorough feet & legs assessment before you start even gentle exercising. A Podiatrist can advise on appropriate footwear, orthotic measures and exercises to correct biomechanical faults.
Sixthly, before and after any sort of exercising, do a few "stretch" exercises. This will reduce muscular injury risk and make your exercising a little easier too. (Most health clubs or gymnasiums have instructors who can teach you the basics of warm up and warm down stretches.)
Seventhly, before making your choice of exercise, think about whether you want a solo pursuit (such as swimming, walking, cycling, or a combination of machine workouts at a gymnasium) or whether you may maintain better motivation in a group activity (such as aerobics classes or a dancing club).
Eighthly, choose something that you can commit yourself to for at least 45 minutes at a time, a minimum of four and preferable more times per week. (You may mix activities and enjoy variety to achieve this, if you wish. You may find dancing twice per week, swimming twice per week and gym machines twice per week gives you the variety you need to keep you motivated.)
Ninethly, if you choose walking, a handy guideline for weight loss (not exactly accurate, but useful none-the-less) is to think of the first 45 minutes as mere warm up with little benefit. The next 45 minutes is when fat burning starts to happen. The really serious fat burning only begins to kick in another 45 minutes after that. (Too much to do every day of the week, but a daily 45 - 60 minute walk with a much longer walk at the weekend is one good approach.)
Tenthly, you don't have to be the best. You don't have to lift the heaviest weight or go the longest distance, or be the fastest person around. When you are exercising for health, none of that matters. It is not a competition. All that matters is that you get out there and do it.
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