Work when there is work to do. Rest when you are tired. One thing done in peace will most likely be better than ten things done in panic. I am not a hero if I deny rest; I am only tired.
When I describe the basic goals for exercise and physical activity, most of the time I get the question “But, is that enough?”
We have discuses that exercise training is specific. You get what you train for. When exercising for the goal of weight loss, we easily get pulled into the “never enough” spiral.
The problem is, we make weight loss the reason for exercise. Well, isn’t it? I mean, don’t we need to exercise to lose weight?
Very few people are exercising ONLY to see the scale go down. Most people want to weigh less to be able to do more. THAT is the reason to exercise. To be able to do more. Yes, weighing less will make it easier, but fitness makes it possible.
So how much is enough exercise depends on what you want to be able to do. List all the activities you want to be easier. What do you need? More strength, balance, mobility, stamina?
In general, gradually make these four goals as consistent as possible to build strength, stamina and mobility:
1. Avoid prolonged stillness by moving your body every 30 minutes during sedentary activities. This helps your body reduce the inflammation that happens when your body is still, especially when it is stressed and still. This can be a short walk or a stretch. Just move your body in some way, preferably taking a break and not multitasking so your brain gets a recharge too!
2. Do cardio at a moderate intensity for your breathing three days a week for 30 minutes. This helps your body build stamina so every day life activities require less energy. If you can’t do 30 minutes all together, break it up into smaller bouts that you can do, such as six five minute, three 10 minute, or two fifteen minute bouts.
3. Do quality total body strength training twice a week. This helps your body learn how to move efficiently so daily life is less strain on your body. What is involved in quality strength training? Basically learn how to work with how your body is designed to be strong. (These are all things we work on in a session together at the Weight Center):
- Learning how to use your core to stabilize while breathing.
- Learning how to do movements for your arms and legs while your core is stabilizing.
- Training your nervous system by focusing on what you are doing
- When starting out, keeping the resistance light so your nervous system can move muscles most effectively (instead of starting out with heavy weights to “kick start”).
4. Stretch after exercise and as movement breaks during the day. This helps your body stay mobile and move with more freedom by reducing the tightness that can happen with aging and inactivity.
Notice, there is no requirement that you are able to run a certain distance, lift a certain amount of weight or be able to touch your toes. Those are fitness goals used when comparing your body to someone else, like in physical education classes or in sports. When weight loss is about functioning better in your life, you don’t need to compare to what anyone else is able to do.
Let’s stay out of the “never enough” downward spiral that drains energy and motivation. Let’s remember there is such thing as “enough” exercise for the goal of weight loss to function and feel better.
Keep Moving, Be Well,
These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.
Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery. Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center