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The Best Way To Start To Exercise Even If You Are Overweight

Longevity logo Longevity 2020-02-24 Editor LL
a little boy that is standing in the grass: Exercise © Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash Exercise

Starting an exercise routine is no easy feat, but it’s particularly tough if you’re many pounds overweight. However, when you’re obese, exercise—along with a healthy diet—is what you need to lose the extra pounds and (re)gain control over your weight.

So how do you get started with exercise?

Use the following guidelines to put you on the right track toward achieving your fitness goals. By implementing these tips, you’ll be able to build the exercise habit, get in shape, and lose the pounds for good.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

See your doctor first

Whether you’re taking up exercise for the first time, or starting over after a long break, you need it to be safe, first and foremost.

For this reason, you should start with a doctor’s visit, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while.

Some issues to address during your visit include any history of heart issues, respiratory issues (including lung disease or asthma), kidney health, joint problems (think arthritis), your current medication, and other related issues.

You should also consult with your doctor about any specific exercises or activities that should be avoided based on your current condition.

Walk first

Before you jump on the treadmill or start throwing weights around, it’s vital to bring more movement to your daily routine. The best way to do this is via walking.

Walking is the ideal stepping stone to the exercise world. It’s convenient, free, and can be done by virtually anyone, anywhere, with little gear required.

Even walking slowly burns a lot of calories when you’re carrying extra weight since you’re using up more energy to move your body.

Start by walking three to four times per week at for at least 20 to 30 minutes a session, then gradually work your way up, increasing the length and frequency of your walks until you’re doing for over an hour per day, six times a week.

Don’t worry about pace or distance in the beginning. Make consistency of your goal.

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Try strength training

Once you build some endurance, hit the weight room.

Resistance training involves using dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, resistance machines, and other equipment as well as your own bodyweight to make your muscles stronger.

Regular strength training helps you build muscle strength, change body composition, and make you stronger.

Strength training is especially helpful for obese people. It can help you fix many of the problems arising from carrying all of that extra weight around. It also helps improve your joint range of motion.

Strength training is critical as you age and specifically particularly good for longevity.

The best part of this exercise?

Most strength training exercises can be performed sitting down, making them ideal for those with a lot o to lose and/or mobility issues.

Start at home with bodyweight exercises, especially if you feel nervous about hitting the gym. Do push-ups, squats, sit-ups, and lunges. These exercises can be done anywhere, and you can scale them to your fitness level.

Once you transition to using weights, go light. If you’re using a barbell for the first time, start with the empty bar and work on your lifting technique. Form comes before load. Make it your mantra.  Add weight once you’re confident you’re doing it right.

a man holding a knife: exercise © Provided by Longevity exercise

Another option is circuit training, in which you move quickly from one exercise to the next. Research shows that it burns about 30 percent more calories than the standard weight workout.

Listen to your body

The most important piece of advice when exercising—both for overweight and lean people—is to never overdo it. That’s why any time you jog, strength train, swim, or whatever, make your body’s feedback the ultimate judge.

Of course, exercise isn’t always a pleasant ride. Expect some discomfort along the way. But if you’re doubling over in pain, it means you’re doing it wrong.

The bottom line

Exercise is medicine. It will transform your life for the better! Getting started is a big step in the right direction. The direction towards longevity. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Rather, take it slow so you can get into the routine and begin enjoying the changes.   Slow incremental gains are best over time. Remember, too, that if you are feeling discomfort then you must stop exercising altogether.

Consult a medical practitioner if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intense chest pain
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Severe muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea

Did you know your DNA may hold the key to which exercise is best for you? Read more here.

About the author:

a man standing in front of a building: David Dack Exercise © Provided by Longevity David Dack Exercise

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy

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