You’ve heard it a thousand times: It takes nutrition and exercise to lose weight and reach a healthy weight. But, if you’re like many people struggling with their weight, you may not know how to get started with a safe and effective exercise program.
As part of the lifestyle coaching offered at Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss, Dr. Latisa Carson and her team of weight loss mentors can help you design a personal exercise program. In this post, we discuss why exercise is beneficial and what you can expect in a personal exercise program, and examine some of the questions you may have about how exercise fits into a medical weight loss program.
If you’re losing weight through our nutrition counseling and other services, you may wonder why you need to exercise. You’re busy, it’s hard enough to make time to plan and prepare healthy meals, where will you find time to exercise?
Exercise has so many benefits. Once you establish an exercise routine, you’re going to wonder what took you so long. Aside from helping you lose weight, exercise improves mental health, sleep, and brain health.
Regular exercise makes your heart healthier, lowers your risk of diabetes, and even of some cancers. It improves your bone and joint health, and lowers your risk of falling.
And, of course, weight loss can be an important part of your weight loss strategy. You burn calories during exercise, but you also build muscle strength and muscles burn more calories all the time.
Besides all of that, exercise just feels good. You may not feel good while you’re doing it, but it’s very likely you will when you’re finished. You get those good exercise endorphins that boost your mood, and the satisfaction of knowing you did something good for your body.
What does a personal exercise program look like?
When you work with Dr. Carson or one of our weight loss mentors, you can expect to discuss your overall health, any injuries you may have had, what kinds of activities you enjoy doing, and what your schedule is like. All of those various factors impact your ability to exercise.
For example, if you have a shoulder issue, you may not need to join a fitness class that requires you to lift weights overhead. If you don’t know how to swim, then swimming laps isn’t going to be the right routine for you.
In addition to helping you find the right activities, we can help you know how intense your exercise sessions should be. You may need to begin more slowly than you think, or you may be capable of more than you realize.
Common questions about starting to exercise
You probably have lots of questions about exercising safely. Most of our clients do. Here are a few of the most common ones:
- How long should I aim to workout?
- What should my heart rate be?
- Do I need a fitness watch or other special equipment?
- What kind of exercise should I do?
- What if it hurts?
The specific answers to those questions depend on your situation, of course, but we can offer some broad, generalized answers here.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week for cardiovascular benefits. You may not be able to start with a 30-minute, brisk walk each day, so you start with five minutes or 10 minutes, or whatever you can handle, and slowly increase each week.
At first, your heart rate is less important than the fact you’re exercising. You may find that it’s easier to measure the intensity of your exercise by noticing how hard you’re breathing. You should be breathing heavier than usual, but not so much that you can’t hold a conversation.
The activities you choose determine whether or not you need any special equipment. Many people find walking the most accessible exercise, and for that you need good shoes. You don’t need a fitness watch, but you may find you enjoy tracking.
The type of exercise you choose depends on many factors, including personal preference and ability. If you don’t enjoy walking, but you love to swim, then swimming might be a better place to start exercising. You might find you enjoy the camaraderie of a group fitness class, or that the solitude of a quiet walk alone gives you time to think.
If you find that exercise is painful, talk to us. A personal exercise program is designed specifically for you, and tailored to your needs. You may feel some normal soreness, but you should discuss anything else with us before continuing.
Ready to learn more? Book an appointment at Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss today. You can schedule an in-person or telehealth visit online or by phone, and we’re happy to answer all your questions.