Your Weight Loss Exercise Program for the Menopause and Beyond
You've made up your mind to start a weight loss exercise program to see you healthily through the menopause and beyond. Congratulations! You're taking the first step on the path to a fitter, more slender you. And you're doing your longterm health a very good turn.
When you're devising a weight loss exercise program for yourself, be realistic. It's no good scheduling in daily trips to the gym unless you really think you can keep the momentum going. It's better to start slowly and build up, especially if you haven't exercised for a long time - maybe never.
And of course, you should always consult your doctor if you have health concerns or any existing conditions that might affect your ability to exercise, before you embark on any new exercise plan.
Now, start planning. You need to build in both aerobic exercises and strength or resistance training. Both sorts of exercise are vital to your overall fitness and longterm health during and after the menopause. Using exercise to lose weight is the best thing you can do for your wellbeing, and it will help you lose belly fat as well.
This is where you get out of breath and work up a bit of a sweat. Aerobic exercise gives your heart a workout and makes it stronger, healthier and less susceptible to heart disease.
And most types of aerobic exercise can have a great effect on fat. Exercise boosts your metabolic rate and triggers your body into burning calories more efficiently not just while you're exercising, but all day!
(By the way, dieting has the opposite effect. Going on and off reducing diets, with the weight swings that result, makes your body lower its metabolic rate so it becomes harder and harder to shift the fat.)
How much aerobic exercise should you include in your weight loss program? Around four hours a week is great. You don't have to do it all at once - in fact it's better if you spread it out.
Or you could take one dance class, one gym session and three walks.
Don't feel you have to do all this from day one. If you're doing nothing at the moment, sign up for one class and start taking a 10-15 minute walk on alternate days, then build up from there. Build your weight loss exercise program gently.
These are the exercises that build that all important muscle. Sometimes called weight resistance exercises, these are the ones where you will often use equipment like weights, dumbbells, exercise bands or medicine balls to build your strength.
You can also do strength training exercises without equipment - think of ab crunches, cycling in the air, press ups and so on.
The beauty of these exercises is that they are quick and easy to perform. You can do them just as easily at home as at the gym, and you won't end up hot and sweaty.
And what benefits strength training exercises bring. Increased muscle in your body burns more calories, helping you to lose that fat belly. You look more toned and slender when you carry more muscle, and your joints and ligaments become stronger, making you less likely to suffer from falls or reduced mobility as you age.
Again, when you embark on the strength section of your weight loss exercise program, start gradually. Pick easier exercises, and low numbers of repetitions to start with. Then build up gently. You'll be surprised at how quickly your strength improves.
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- Don't forget your diet
Exercise by itself will do you no end of good - but on its own it won't help you beat the bulge unless you also take care over what you eat.
If you're starting a weight loss exercise program, for the most benefit you should combine it with some careful changes to your diet.
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