Exercise can help everyone stay healthy and feel their best. For people trying to lose weight, increasing physical activity is one of the most important things you can do. In addition to burning calories, exercise can improve your mood, help you keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check, and prevent serious complications such as diabetes and heart disease from developing or growing worse.
Even if you only lose a small amount of weight, exercise is still highly beneficial for your health.
Regular exercise does not necessarily mean going to the gym or playing sports. Nearly any physical activity that gets you up and moving can provide significant benefits to those with obesity.
What does it involve?
Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. If you have physical challenges, consider consulting with a physical therapist to develop a customized exercise plan. There are exercises and physical activities appropriate for any level of ability.
Small lifestyle changes such as taking the stairs, parking further from the door, and taking on walks during work breaks can increase the amount of exercise you get.
It is important to choose a type of physical activity you will enjoy and can regularly do. Be creative. Walking a pet, gardening, and pushing children in swings are all activities that get you up and moving. Consider joining a dance class, spin class, or yoga class to keep you motivated and incorporate social aspects. If you enjoy playing a sport, hiking, or exercising at a gym, make sure to do these activities at least twice a week. Aerobic exercise can take many forms. Walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary or recumbent bike, climbing stairs, or swimming can all provide effective exercise. Resistance training such as lifting weights can be done seated, and it can involve as light a weight as you are comfortable lifting. Even small amounts of weight or resistance – for instance, lifting your arms or legs repeatedly against gravity – provide benefits.
Whatever type of physical activity you choose, follow these general safety guidelines. Always begin your exercise session with a gradual warm-up and take the time to cool down afterward. Warming up and cooling down will help prevent sore or pulled muscles. Exercise should be somewhat challenging, but never a struggle. Stay hydrated with plenty of cool liquids, choosing beverages without caffeine.
A few people with insulin resistance experience hypoglycemia, also known as an insulin reaction or low blood sugar, during or after exercise. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include headache, feeling shaky, nervous, sleepy, or irritable, numb or tingling lips or tongue, dizziness, or blurred vision. Keep glucose tablets or a sports drink on hand in case you experience hypoglycemia during physical activity.
It is important not to become discouraged early on when beginning a regimen of physical activity. At first, try to exercise for 10 minutes each day. As you become accustomed to the activity, exercise for longer periods every day. Focus on finding ways of staying active that are safe, enjoyable and easy to do regularly. If you experience new or worse diabetes symptoms or side effects from medications, adjust your activity program to keep it safe and rewarding.
Exercise can help you achieve and maintain a healthier weight and your best physical and psychological condition. A regular exercise regimen can reduce insulin resistance, keep your blood glucose levels within the healthy range, avoid developing complications, and add years to your life. Exercise might protect those with prediabetes or high risk factors from developing diabetes. Physical exercise can increase strength, stave off heart disease, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer, and improve your mood and self-esteem.
Studies show that an exercise regimen furnishes significant weight loss in obese and overweight people, even without changing the diet.
Some health conditions and medication side effects can make it difficult to feel motivated to start or continue a routine of physical activity.
If you exercise too hard, you may feel sore for a day or two afterward. Soreness is a sign that you should take it a little easier next time. If one type of exercise does not work for you, consider trying another.
For answers to frequently asked questions about exercise during pregnancy, visit the experts at MothertoBaby.org.
To read more, visit:
Obesity and Exercise – American College of Sports Medicine
Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: Midwest Exercise Trial-2 – National Institutes of Health
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