Thursday, April 2, 2009

XXY: Maintaining Good Health through Walking

From personal experience jogging is too harsh on the body, especially the out of shape or overweight body, and lifting weights alone doesn't lose weight. Cardio exercise is what helps people to lose weight, and most serious fitness people include an element of cardio in their workouts for this reason. There is a misconception, mostly among men, that working out to lose weight means going to a gym and lifting weights. While it is true that increasing muscle will help the body to burn more fat, the benefit pales next to the action of doing a cardio workout. If you are just starting out to lose weight, start with the cardio and work forwards.

Cardio (weight loss):
I recommend simply walking at a hastened pace for as long as you can and gradually work that up to 1 hour. Your target speed is 3.5 miles per hour, and about 5 kilometers. If you're using a jogging machine, skip all of the uphill/downhill/fancy options and set a hastened pace and walk. Make sure you drink plenty of water.

A second option is swimming laps. Hop in a pool setup for lap swimming, do a front crawl (nothing fancy..) and swim as far as you can at a slightly hastened pace. Your target is to develop the ability to swim for 1 hour at a hastened pace.

Second requirement for losing weight:
Eat healthy. That means Mediterranean diet and no fast food. A Mediterranean diet consists of 2/3rds vegetables, few or very minimal sauces, some fruits and nuts, and very small amounts of meats, breads, or pasta's. No sugars or oils. And limited amounts of dairy products. If you cannot tolerate, like some people cannot eat/drink dairy then find a normal substitute. Avoid manufactured foods.

Lastly drink lots of water....People have suggested its possible to drink too much, and yes technically it is possible but its extremely unlikely that anyone who isn't running marathons will ever reach the point of too much water. It is really hard to force yourself to drink too much water, without first forcing your endurance far beyond the limits. By the time you have worked a physical regimen to the point where you have achieved sufficient physical fitness to push to the limits (this isn't possible at the start) then you will understand this better. For now, don't worry about it.

Here's the fun part of cardio for an hour at a hastened pace. When you're done, right after finishing, you should immediately drink a beverage that will restore electrolytes. My personal favorite is about a pint sized portion of chocolate milk (about 6 oz or less). A small energy drink is also acceptable, provided it is not loaded with caffeine. This should have some sugar, salts, and potassium. This burst of sugar is your reward for success, and the electrolytes will help your body recover from the stress of exercising. When it is available I like to make a blue berry and vanilla yogurt sundae, as my treat (again, limited to 6 oz or less).

No comments:

Post a Comment