Four specialized tips to beat the bulge
A recent study from the American Obesity Association found that nearly 62 percent of the female population is categorized as overweight. For women looking to shed a few pounds in the New Year it’s important to start a new health and fitness regimen now before high-calorie holiday meals push you further from your weight loss goals.
However, women need to be cautious as they start a fitness program, because as many studies indicate, a woman’s biomechanics make her more vulnerable than men to certain conditions such as a variety of knee problems, ankle sprains and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. According to physical therapist Megan Barclay, this increased vulnerability is exacerbated in overweight women because for every extra 10 pounds a woman carries on her bone structure, the force on her knees increases by 30 to 60 pounds per step. So, it is important to consider the following tips to prevent injury and keep weight lose on the right track:
1.) Discuss with your doctor: Before beginning any new fitness routine, it’s imperative to speak with a physician. Barclay suggests, “It’s a good idea to have your doctor take readings of your heart rate, blood pressure and other vital statistics to not only get a benchmark, but also determine what types of exercises are safe for you to do.” Once this is established, the physician can help design a personalized plan that allows for incremental increases in intensity. “The doctor may also recommend working with a professional, like a physical therapist or certified personal trainer to make sure risk-free habits are established,” says Barclay.
2.) Get ultra support: Not surprisingly, overweight women tend to experience a higher incidence of mechanical knee problems and are four times more likely to have osteoarthritis of the knee. “It’s important for overweight women to have proper knee support while they are working out to help prevent injury,” says Barclay. She recommends Wellgate for Women’s new Queen Sized Ultra Knee Support, which is the first and only over-the-counter knee brace made to fit plus-size women weighing more than 160 pounds. “Now women can get the support they need from a knee brace that fits them properly, is made of a soft, breathable fabric and even comes with a patent-pending control top,” she says. The Wellgate for Women brace, which is only $13.99, is available at most mass market retailers such as Kmart and Wal-Mart and fits women sizes 16 to 3XL.
3.) Baby steps: The most common mistake made when beginning an exercise regimen is overdoing it. Luckily, one of the most effective exercises for starting down the path to fitness is also one of the simplest — walking. “Walking is low-impact so it won’t strain knees or joints. It also helps strengthen your heart and lungs and improves circulation,” says Barclay. “Start today and work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of relatively vigorous walking, three to five times a week.” Taking a different route each day can help to keep this workout new and exciting.
4.) Make it mental: “Don’t forget that your mind is a muscle, too,” says Barclay. “Keeping your mind healthy and focused and your self-esteem high is just as important as keeping the rest of the body in shape.” Find a workout buddy, enlist your spouse or take along the dog — anything to motivate you mentally will help you stay on track with your new program.
Achieving health, fitness and weight-loss goals may seem harder for those with more weight to lose, but small steps now can help build momentum for the rest of the year and prevent larger health problems down the line.
Courtesy of ARA Content