Obesity — everyone knows it’s bad and that it’s everywhere. Nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the United States deal with the health and emotional effects of obesity every day. The solution to the problem sounds deceptively simple; take in fewer calories a day, while energizing the calorie-burning process with regular exercise. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Exercise is an essential part of any weight-loss program and should become a permanent part of your lifestyle. The benefits of exercise can include:
- burning off calories and losing weight
- maintaining muscle tone
- increasing metabolic rate (the amount of calories the body burns 24 hours a day)
- improving circulation
- improving heart and lung function
- increasing sense of self-control
- reducing level of stress
- increasing ability to concentrate
- improving appearance
- reducing depression
- suppressing appetite
- helping one sleep better
- preventing diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- decreasing risk of some cancers, such as breast, ovary, and colon cancer.
To gradually increase your physical activity, your doctor may suggest that you:
- Walk every day.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do errands on foot, if possible. If you need to drive, park farther away, and walk to your destination.
- Go to a spa, gym, or exercise class. Water aerobic classes are especially good if you have back, knee, or joint problems.
- Do some form of strength training using gym equipment or your own body weight. In addition to making your muscles stronger and able to work longer without getting tired, strength training helps you burn more energy when you are at rest. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat, so as muscle increases so does the ability to burn calories.
To maintain an exercise program, follow these guidelines:
- Avoid setting your expectations too high. Start out slowly and build your stamina gradually.
- Find a friend to exercise with.
- Avoid being competitive. Try to improve on your last effort instead of comparing yourself with someone else.
- Recover completely from illness before resuming exercise. Then start with less exercise and increase the amount you do gradually to avoid injury.
- Remember that exercise needs to be continued throughout your life.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for long-term answers for potentially life-threatening obesity, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can find the right treatment for you.