We wanted to talk about why we encourage low intensity exercise over high intensity exercise. Most of us have always been taught that harder is better, right?! Well when it comes to weight loss and getting started on exercising, it is actually better to start with low intensity exercise.

So here are some benefits of low intensity exercise, as well as some great suggestions for things you can start doing right now.

Why you should start doing low-intensity exercises:

  1. You can ease into it. If a person has not been accustomed to exercise, then stepping on a treadmill for 30 minutes might be enough to get a good workout. You might be a little sore but not nearly to the point of how you would feel if you started jogging and lifting weights.
  1. You will build up your endurance. You have to start somewhere, right? You can’t just jump up one day and decide to run a 5k; it takes a while to get in that kind of shape. The more you move, the more endurance you will build. Soon exercise will start to get easier.
  1. Low intensity can be fun. Exercise will come more naturally if you’re doing it in a way you find enjoyable. It is really important to find something that you love. We’ll talk more about that below.
  1. You will still see results. Don’t let your friends or trainers tell you that you have to do more – you start where you can! Even if progress is just gradual, you’ll still feel better, more energized, and you will feel more accomplished!
  1. Fat burning happens with moderate stress. We are burning most efficiently when our heart rates are in the 50-70% range. This means that most of us should be able to talk pretty freely during our activity.

We offer a wonderful test that will show us exactly where you should keep your heart rate to be in the optimal fat burning place for each individual. It is the VO2 test. The actual test takes 8-12 minutes and you get your results right after the test. You can start watching your heart rate that day and know exactly where you get the most benefit!

If you are interested in testing your VO2, e-mail Lauren at lauren.w@weightwise.com

Low-impact exercises are great for post-op bariatric patients

After undergoing weight loss surgery, your body needs a break from strenuous activity. Relaxation is the name of the game, and taking good care of yourself is your number one priority.

However, soon it will become important to start moving again to strengthen your body and prepare for the exercise regimens you will eventually adopt.

This is where low-impact exercises are most beneficial.

It is generally acceptable to begin exercising a few days after surgery, as long as the activity is low impact. If your recovery has been difficult or if you’ve experienced any complications during surgery, it may take you longer to get back to your regular routine.

Starting an exercise regimen, particularly if recovery has been difficult or if you were not accustomed to exercise prior to surgery, can be an adjustment. The following low-impact exercises provide excellent, strengthening workouts without taxing your body.

  1. Walking: That’s right, using your feet and legs to get from point A to point B is stress-free, relaxing, and an excellent way to get your body moving, increase your heart rate, and gently strengthen muscles. Over time, you can incorporate ankle or wrist weights or dumbells into your walking regimen to increase your strength and cardiovascular fitness.
  1. Swimming: Swimming a few laps is a great, low-impact way to get cardio and strength-building benefits. Swimming not only revs your heart rate but tones your shoulders and legs and improves your lung function, all without putting pressure on your bones and joints.
  1. 3. Zumba: Love music and dancing? A Zumba class might be the perfect fit for you. These high-energy, cardio-inspired classes get your blood pumping. These fun dance workouts have great music and plenty of variety. You might even forget that you’re working out!
  1. Water aerobics: Love the water but sick of laps? Try the pike scull or encourage your fitness center’s aerobics teachers to host one class per week in the pool. Add an aerobic element to your swim time by joining a friend in the pool and tossing a beach ball. “Running” to catch it is a great low-impact challenge.
  1. Yoga: It’s relaxing. It’s spiritual. It tones your butt. For the purposes of this list, it’s also low-impact and boosts strength. Originally conceived in the East, yoga is not merely a of sequence of movements that tones the body but a way of life that includes healthful eating, positive thoughts, and gentleness with oneself. One yoga class could change your life, and also provide strength-building and mind-soothing benefits.
  1. Golf: Nobody’s expecting Tiger Woods here, but getting outside and walking the course and even swinging a golf club combines the benefits of all of the above exercises: walking, lifting light weight, and fluid movement. Plus, learning the rules of the game provides an intellectual and competitive element that makes it fun and engaging.
  1. Cycling: Do you have a bicycle that’s been collecting dust in the basement or garage? Take your workout outside and feel like a kid again. Cycle at a moderate pace for at least 45 minutes to burn calories or if you want to cycle with friends, get a group of other cyclists together and set out on some of the trails around your city. If outside cycling isn’t your favorite type of exercise, consider signing up for a spin class at your local gym or community center. You’ll get your heart thumping to some music, and you’ll be sure to feel those calories coming off.

You shouldn’t strain your body when you start getting up and moving after weight loss surgery. It should be the opposite: gentle movement can increase your circulation, heart rate, and muscle strength, all of which will support more strenuous exercise efforts in future and help to shape and tone your post-surgical body right now.

Start low impact exercise today!

We realize exercise is not on everyone’s top priority list. We all have a busy schedule and we all have to figure out to how make time for exercise.  

Low impact exercise can deliver a big return, though, and we really stress to our clients that cardio has to become your new best friend and consistency is a huge part to your success. You can talk to our exercise physiologists for tips on how to create a workout that is impacting and perfect for you.

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