Lose Weight with Exercise
As Americans with an “I want it NOW” attitude, we look for an easy way to lose weight. Exercise and diet are the most surefire way to lose weight if you are looking to keep it off and change your lifestyle. Changing your diet to include lower fat, lower calories, and higher fiber is an important component, but exercise is critical to getting your body healthy and keeping the weight off.
I began an exercise program over a year ago that helped me lose the extra weight I was carrying. When I stick to it, the weight stays off. When I slack off, the weight drifts back on. Here are some of the ways I focused myself on losing the weight I wanted to lose.
First, realize that before you start working out, you need to see a doctor to be sure you don’t have any issues that could jeopardize your health if you start to exert yourself in an exercise program. Follow your doctor’s advice on suggestions he might have for what type of exercise is right for you.
Once you know your health is fine, you will want to consider two major types of exercises. Both are extremely important in your weight loss journey.
The first is cardiovascular exercise. This is the one we all hate because it is boring and it makes us sweat!
Cardio workouts consist of any movement that makes our hearts beat faster. Depending on your age, you will want to determine what is the safest and most effective heart rate for your workout. Don’t exceed that heart rate because you can overexert yourself. Not to mention, exceeding your recommended heart rate does not provide extra weight loss results, so why push so hard?
You have several options for cardio workouts. The simplest is to take a brisk walk around your neighborhood or the track at your local high school. Make sure you walk at a rate that keeps your heart rate elevated enough. Walking for 30 minutes a day three or four times per week should provide optimum results. If you are a runner, bump your walk up to a run. The same rules apply.
Another free option is to ride your bike. Again, 30 minutes with your heart rate elevated provides maximum results. Be careful to ride where cars don’t have to dodge you.
If you belong to a gym, you can use any number of machines they have available. My personal favorite is elliptical. It wasn’t always my favorite, because it forces you to work hard, and it can get very hard to endure the first 15 minutes. A tip from my friend: if you can make the first 15 minutes, the rest is downhill. Breathe deeply and go at a pace that doesn’t take your heart rate too high.
Another option at the gym is a stationary bike or a spinning bike. The stationary bike allows you to sit back, while the spinning bike requires you to lean forward like you are riding a racing bicycle. If you are just getting started or are significantly out of shape or are nursing an injury, a stationary bike is ideal for you. It causes very little strain on your joints but gets your heart rate going.
The gym will also have a treadmill on which you can walk or run. The benefit of the treadmill is that it sets a pace for you so you can’t set out for a brisk walk and end up on a leisurely stroll. Well, you can, but you’ll meet the neighbor behind you when you end up on the floor!
Another option for cardio is swimming. It is a great workout for your heart, but it puts no strain on joints. If you have weak ankles or knees and cannot run or walk fast, try swimming. Not just splashing around in the pool: swimming. As in laps up and down the pool. It’s easy on the body, but great for the heart and lungs!
The second type of exercise is weight training. This is the part some people are afraid of because they don’t want to “bulk up.” That is a big misconception. You won’t bulk up if you use the right amount of weight. Weight training allows you to develop strength in muscles that don’t get used in cardio workouts. You can focus on your abs, shoulders, arms, behind, or legs.
Usually, your best results come if you work one or two major muscle groups in any given session. Then give those muscles a rest as you work out the next set or two in the next workout. You can set up a system where each muscle group is getting worked out with low to moderate weight levels each week. You will begin to see muscle definition without muscle bulk.
The best combination of exercise for weight loss is 30 minutes of cardio three to four times a week, followed by a weight training session of about 30 minutes. Alternate your muscle groups and watch the results roll in! You will be amazed by how dramatically your body shape will change in just a few days’ works.
For maximum results from your workout efforts, I changed my diet. I began to eat more natural foods, eliminating a significant amount of the processed and fatty foods I had been eating. Drink plenty of water, and avoid excesses in those things you know aren’t good for you!
You will find yourself shedding pounds and inches, and you will wonder why you didn’t try this years ago. You will feel better and have more energy by participating in a weight loss program that is good for your heart and for your well-being.
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The content on this site is presented only for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician.