As we left off in the previous post, fitness is for everyone. If you’re currently inactive, worried about becoming active or worried about boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, fear not. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) is generally safe for most people, and even if it’s been a long time and/or you have medical problems, the health benefits of being active are far greater than the risks of getting hurt and the consequences of remaining inactive.
First things first: Get cleared by your physician.
If you have a chronic medical illness like diabetes, heart or vascular disease, arthritis or asthma/COPD, talk with your physician about your ability to be active. Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan matching your capabilities, and you or you and your personal trainer can execute it. You’d be surprised how much health can be generated with a reasonable amount of effort. As little as 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) produces measurable health benefits. The key is to avoid being inactive.
You’re not going to run a marathon on your first day back working out.
Strokes and heart attacks are rare during physical activity. The risk that does exist comes from someone who figuratively goes from 0–60. Don’t go from inactive to hyperactive, engaging in vigorous-intensity aerobics (e.g., that includes shoveling snow, running stairs, etc.). It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer if it’s within your means. You need to have a plan in place to get from zero to hero.
We’ve previously discussed losing weight in the context of the caloric index. Just remember that in order to lose one pound, you need to burn an average of 500 more calories per day than you eat or drink—for an entire week. We’ll get back to the dietary consideration in an upcoming post, but for now let’s focus on the exercise/activity component of the equation.
To translate what “500 more calories per day than you eat or drink” looks like, follow these tips:
- Strive for 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) or
- Strive for 75 minutes/week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or
- Strive for an equivalent mix of the two
Be advised that your metabolism may play a role on whether you need more or less aerobic activity to accomplish your goal.
Now these aerobic recommendations represent a minimal amount likely to help you maintain your current weight. Increase these amounts and/or use the dietary intake side of the equation to help you lose weight. Check back tomorrow for a review of those.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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