Exercise Options: Vigorous Exercise
If your healthcare provider approves, try more challenging activities that can burn calories faster
A more vigorous routine can burn calories faster
Most overweight people can become more active just by walking. By now, you may feel more comfortable being active and your healthcare provider may want you to try a more vigorous form of physical activity. Examples would be running instead of walking and can be standing instead of sitting. More vigorous activity can help you burn more calories and may also improve your overall fitness.
If you’ve been walking regularly, that’s fantastic! It can be OK to stick with walking alone! A regular walking program can benefit you tremendously. The best activity is the one you do. If you are happy with walking and that’s all that your plan prescribes, then keep walking, and keep up the good work!
However, if your healthcare provider recommends you try something more vigorous, you may wish to try running, cycling, aerobics, swimming, or any other regular activity. Consult with your healthcare provider and choose something you like and will want to do again. Many people use more than one type of activity to lose weight. This can keep it from getting too dull and can let you change your routine with your mood. It also can allow you to be flexible with your schedule and the weather. For example, you might walk some days, bicycle other days, and do an aerobics class when one is scheduled.
Three of the most popular activities are running, cycling, and aerobics. Keep reading to find out if one of these activities may be right for you and how you might get started.
There are many benefits to running. It can bring on many physical changes as well as advantages to the psyche, which can sometimes be overlooked. Running can give you a sense of accomplishment, self-confidence, well-being, and good feelings. Running has a lot going for it!
Many people enjoy running, but if you still have many pounds to lose, brisk walking can be easier, and it gives almost the same health advantages. Running can help some people, but walking can be a fine alternative.
If running can be part of your physical activity program, and you decide to give it a try, it’s important to start gradually. You could start by adding short periods of running to your walks. Each week, run a little more and walk a little less. It’s important to build your runs slowly—you may be ready to run the whole time in several months. As with any activity, consult with your healthcare provider and be sure to warm up and cool down.
When you run, your head should be up. Look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and swing your arms forward and back. Push off with the ball of your foot and land on your heel to midfoot.
Make sure to rest between your runs! When you’re starting, don’t run more than every other day. If you want to run longer, and your healthcare provider recommends it, build slowly.
Many books are specifically designed to help you get started running. You may want to read more about running if you’re interested. If you have any questions about whether or how much running is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider.
Cycling has the same advantages as running, and some people enjoy it more. Riding a bicycle or a stationary bike can be good exercise, and, unlike running, it doesn’t put the strain on your knees, ankles, and feet. It can also be nice for heavy people because the bike supports your weight. It can be a great way to burn calories. If you find the seat uncomfortable, there are now special gel seats to help.
If you can cycle outdoors, you may want to give it a try. Biking to work can be terrific if you can do it. If not, you could consider a stationary bike for your home. Stationary biking can be nice in bad weather. What’s more, you can watch TV or listen to music while you do it.
If you are cycling on the road, be sure to follow these safety tips:
- Look and listen! Be alert for sounds like tires squealing or cars playing loud music, which could mean a driver is not in control or paying attention. When in doubt, pull over and let the car pass
- Choose a smart route. It can be easier and more enjoyable to bike on roads that have few cars or a lower speed limit. Many cities and towns have special bike lanes on some roads as well
- Indicate your turns with hand signals. Just like when you’re driving, you want to make sure cars and other bicyclists know where you’re going
- Master the art of looking behind without swerving. Practice somewhere safe!
If you haven’t cycled in a while or are not a confident cycler, you can try starting in a local park or other no-car areas.
Aerobic activities make your body use a lot more oxygen. They tend to use large muscle groups and rhythmic movement. Walking, running, cycling, swimming, and jumping rope are aerobic activities, as are dancing to fast music and the other movements taught in aerobics classes. Aerobic activities improve cardiovascular conditioning. They are not the only exercises that can help you lose weight, but they are among the best.
Almost anyone can do aerobics, because it can be done in many ways. If you want to do it on your own, there are books, TV shows, and DVDs. Many aerobic routines can be found for free on YouTube! If you like company, aerobics classes are held in many gyms, churches, and community centers. Classes may include non-impact aerobics, step aerobics, kickboxing, and stationary biking. Water aerobics give you the benefits of aerobics with less strain on your joints. You also may want to try a jazzercise, ballroom dance, hip-hop, or Zumba® class. Ask your healthcare provider for recommendations.
A nice thing about aerobics is that you can move at your own pace, even if you are with a group. Don’t worry about the shape you’re in.