Being Active at all Sizes

by Namita Nayyar

Women can be active at any size by bringing about modifications in their daily lifestyle. Being overweight, obese or even extremely obese in no way should interfere in your determination towards achieving health & fitness goals. To begin with you need to do away with the fact that losing fat or achieving healthy weight is beyond your reach.

I always recommend my clients to focus more on what needs to be done, how it should be done instead of focusing on quick results. Always remember even a slightest effort put in by you towards adopting a regular workout routine or consuming healthy diet will do a 100% good to your physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.

Recommendations for Healthy women:

With a BMI within the range of 19.9-24.9 you seem to possess healthy weight. This calls for action to guard falling out of the healthy weight range, by adopting a regular exercise routine composed of cardiovascular workout and strength training combined with a healthy balanced diet. Your Cardiovascular workout should last for at least 30-45 min done 3-5 times a week,coupled with a personalised strength training program to maintain muscle strength & also prevent muscle loss bound to take place with ageing.

Check your BMR to calculate the total number of calories your body will require for normal bodily functions (excluding activity factors). BMR may vary dramatically from person to person depending on genetic factors. If you know someone who claims they can eat anything they want and never gain an ounce of fat, they have inherited a naturally high BMR. One way to increase your BMR is to engage in weight training in order to increase and/or maintain lean body mass. In this manner it could be said that weight training helps you lose body fat, albeit indirectly.

To keep your weight at its current level, you should remain at your daily caloric maintenance level. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by reducing your calories slightly below your maintenance level (or keeping your calories the same and increasing your activity above your current level). To gain weight you need to increase your calories above your maintenance level. The only difference between weight gain programs and weight loss programs is the total number of calories required.

Recommendation For overweight Women :

If your BMI lies within the range of 25-29.9 you are bound to be overweight. Being overweight is an alarm signal for you to start taking action before things seem to go out of control. Genetics does clearly play a role in your health and appearance, but it certainly does not determine what you are going to have for dinner or how often you exercise. Even if you are born with a genetic predisposition to being overweight or weak, the way you live is what will ultimately determine whether you become fit and strong or fat and week.

If you follow the WF Strength Training, Cardiovascular, and Nutrition / Weight Management programs you will decrease body fat, increase muscle and strength, condition your heart and lungs, improve nutrition and ultimately improve your health, even though the scale may indicate that you have gained a pound or two.

Aerobic cross-training will be appropriate for you if you have any experience with a cardiovascular routine. It refers to using two to three different types of aerobic exercise during an exercise session. For example, if you plan to exercise for 60 minutes, you might start with 20 minutes of walking or jogging, followed by 20 minutes of biking, and finish with 20 minutes of rowing.

Calories not only count, they are the bottom line when it comes to fat loss. If you are eating more calories than you expend, you simply will not lose fat, no matter what type of foods or food combinations you eat. Some foods do get stored as fat more easily than others, but always bear in mind that too much of anything, even "healthy food," will get stored as fat. You cannot override the laws of thermodynamics and energy balance. You must be in a calorie deficit to burn fat. This will force your body to use stored body fat to make up for the energy deficit. There are 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat. If you create a 3500-calorie deficit in a week through diet, exercise or a combination of both, you will definitely lose one pound.

Recommendations for Obese Women :

Any woman possessing a BMI within the range of 30-39.9 is categorized as being Obese with a high risk for cardiovascular disease and class II obesity.

Very large women face special challenges in trying to be active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being active around other people. Facing these challenges is hard-but it can be done!

You don't have to push yourself to benefit from physical activity. Thirty minutes of gentle activity (like walking) can be just as healthy as 15 minutes of intense activity (like fast dancing). You can choose between weightbearing and non-weightbearing activities as either will prove beneficial. Weightbearing activities, like walking, bowling, and golfing involve lifting or pushing your own body weight. Non-weightbearing activities, like swimming and cycling put less stress on your joints because you don't have to lift or push your own weight. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, non-weightbearing activities may be best for you.

Your activities do not have to be planned. You can even make small day-to-day changes to improve your health. For example,

Dietary modifications to facilitate fat loss needs to be closely monitored to prevent any lapses towards achieving healthy weight. The option of adopting Low energy Diets needs to be discussed with a registered dietitian.

For a detailed insight into exercise & diet guidelines for obese women log on to: http://www.womenfitness.net/obesity.htm.

Recommendations for extremely obese women:

Evidence indicates that women with a BMI of 40 or more have a substantially increased risk for death, and not uncommonly, are not only at risk for illness but are already ill. Additional medical conditions are particularly associated with those who are extremely obese like diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and ischemic heart disease.

The first step involves encouraging avoidance of further weight gain. Such a strategy can limit the accumulation of additional medical risks associated with increased weight gain. Health-related behaviors, such as healthful eating and physical activity, can be highlighted as a means to improve health, independent of weight loss.

Although extremely obese patients may be reluctant to engage in physical activity because of discomfort or embarrassment, they should be encouraged to adopt slow, gradual increases in physical activity (e.g., walking with a friend for 10 minutes a day, parking the car farther away in the parking lot). They will need to take up a diet which prevent weight gain and promotes healthy weight loss. Specially designed low-calorie diets (1,200 calories per day) will provide adequate nutrients and prove effective for moderate weight loss. Equally important, is that they include enough food to keep you from feeling starved--and to keep your body's metabolic rate from falling. With very low-calorie--or "starvation"--diets, the rate at which the body burns calories while at rest (its resting metabolic rate) drops significantly, which means weight loss slows, too. Consult your doctor or dietitian for a diet that's right for you.

Try to create an attitude of persistence during times that you reach a weight plateau.

Remember: This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment.
Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.

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