It's About Time

If you have ever spent more that 5 minutes with me, it is fairly obvious that I love fitness. I have learned so much (sometimes the hard way) in the 30 years that I have been teaching. What better way to share my passion than to start a blog and pass on the information that I share with clients on a day-to-day basis.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You Are Never Too Overweight To Workout

I try and use this blog to answer questions that may come up.  I am glad someone asked me this question: "Where/how can I start to incorporate fitness back into my life when I am overweight?"  There are many ways to fight obesity.  Having the desire and deciding to take steps to make it happen is definitely important.  Any time you introduce a  new exercise program you need to set some short-term and long-term goals and make sure that they are realistic.   Here are some suggestions:

  • Individuals undertaking non-medically supervised weight-loss plan should reduce their calories 500-1000 per day, never dropping below 1200, to promote a weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week.
  • Eat 6 small  meals a day to keep energy levels steady.  Don't starve yourself.   Also don't try and just manage your weight by diet.  Use the combination of diet and exercise to achieve your goals.
  • The recommendation for exercise is 5-6 times a week with the minimum being 30 minutes each day and working up to 60.  "More is better."  Begin with 3 times a week if you are starting from scratch.  
  • Choose activities that you like.  You are more apt to stick with it.  Choose your movement wisely.  If you strain your back or knees with your chosen activity, you may want to look at other options. Anything in the pool is good. Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair.  Try recumbent bikes or walking/hiking for cardio.  Try Pilates on the reformer.  It is a great exercise tool to take the pressure off the joints and still get a great workout.  It is a preferred choice for me with many of my severely obese clients.
  • Get your family and friends to support you in your ambition.  They can help to motivate you along.
Many things can detour you away from your goals when starting an exercise program.  Some common hold- ups are:
  • I am intimidated to workout in front of others.-Joining a gym can be overwhelming.  You worry about not wearing or fitting into the typical gym attire.  Equipment doesn't necessary accommodate or fit.  You stress about not being able to keep up with a class.  You don't know how to use the equipment.  All of those concerns are valid.  You just have to find the right fit.  
  • Every time I workout I feel more pain.  Exercise selection is key. Choose exercises or equipment that adds less stress to your joints and allows you to focus on your movements.   Additional weight accelerates wear and tear on your joints.  If you don't know where to start, find a qualified trainer to help. They can help you with alignment and exercise choice.
 "The field of biomechanics (the relationship between forces and motion in the body) gives us some interesting information about loads that our weightbearing joints undergo. In the hip and the knee, two joints that are commonly affected by arthritis, joint forces are approximately 1.5 times body weight when walking on level ground. This means that when a person weighing 200 pounds is walking along a level sidewalk, the forces on the joint are the same as for a 300-pound person standing still. Other activities place even greater forces on the joints. Getting up out of a chair increases the force to approximately 2 to 3 times body weight. The same is true of going up and down stairs. With more vigorous activities, such as running or jumping, the forces on the joints can approach 4 to 5 times body weight. For patients who are overweight, this means dramatically increased force on the joints."
Don't be intimidated by this information.  Be empowered by it.  Making a choice for a better quality of life is important.  It is never to late to start.  Know that if you start exercising now you can make a difference and you will feel better.

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