Trying to lose weight can be daunting for anyone. The situation is alarming especially if you are obese or overweight. Obesity puts you at risk of a number of health-related conditions such as; diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. This computes to about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. But that does not mean that you have to sweat it out at the gym every day, the AHA also states that any kind of physical activity counts as exercise, as long as you are moving your body and burning calories.
That being said, it is best you talk to your physician about your physical limitations, medications and essential dos and don’ts before you start. Here are some tips on how and where you can start a workout regime.
Tips to start a workout regime
- Set small, achievable goals: Swetha Devaraj, Vascular radiologist and fitness coach, says, ‘When you begin your fitness journey- setting a smaller, realistic goal will take you further and keeps you going. For example, if you think of losing 30+ kilograms then it seems too far away. But if you think about losing 1 kg every 2 weeks seems realistic.’ (sic)
- Change your eating habits, gradually: ‘Think of cutting one thing at a time instead of stopping everything all at once. So have a goal to include protein and lots of vegetables in every meal and reduce sugar and fried food.’, says Swetha Devaraj, Vascular radiologist and fitness coach.
- Get the right workout gear and shoes: The right gear is essential for you to achieve your weight loss goals. Before you start your workout make sure you invest in a good pair of shoes. The right shoes help distribute your weight evenly across your foot, taking excessive pressure off your joints, especially your ankles, knees and back. Apart from that, women should invest in a good sports bra that supports their breasts, preventing damage and pain while exercising. Men should buy workout shorts that help support their scrotal region, that is prone to injuries. It may also serve you well to get workout pants that help cover the thigh area, that helps in preventing chafing.
- Start slow but steady: Pick a workout that is low impact, enjoyable and easy to do. Low-impact exercises are those that do not exert excessively, repeated pressure on your joints and studies have found that they can be just as effective as high-impact activities. 
- Do something you enjoy: The key to sticking to a workout regimen is to do something you enjoy. If you are someone who is easily bored then picking an activity that packs in different types of workouts every day may help you stick to the regimen easily.
- Choose a group class: Group classes are great to help keep you motivated and interested in a workout plan. Not only will you find inspiration to keep at it in your classmates but you may also forge a healthy friendship – keeping you on track.
- Include strength training: Your muscles are fat/ calorie burning machines that burn fat long after you have stopped working out. Strength training helps improve posture and improve your range of motion. Therefore it is prudent for you to include a little bit of strength training into your workout regimen. A simple way to do that is to use your own body weight to train your muscles. Simple exercises like arm raises, on the spot marching, etc.
- Recognize that it is a lifestyle change: Trying to lose weight is a lifestyle change, not a fad diet that lasts for a certain period of time. Making healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your lifestyle is essential to sustained weight loss and better health.
Here’s a bunch of exercises that you can try.
- Walking: walking is a great way to help get your heart rate up, strengthen your lower body, improves mobility and exerts very little stress on your joints. An exercise that is good for almost everyone, walking can be moderate or vigorous based on your specific plan. If you experience knee, back or hip pain do visit your healthcare provider for medical advice.  If you are just starting out, start with a 10 to 15-minute walk, gradually increasing it to about 30 minutes.
- Swimming: A full-body workout, swimming is a low-impact exercise that can be fun, especially in the summers. Swimming also strengthens your muscles as the water provides resistance that helps increase the amount of work your muscles have to do.  Swimming is particularly good for those who have painful joints or difficulty moving.
- Aqua aerobics: Based on the principals of lowered intensity due to buoyancy and resistance that the water offers aqua aerobics are great to help you lose weight and enjoy it at the same time.
- Stationary bike riding or recumbent cross-training: Stationary cycling or cross-training is a great way to burn calories with less impact on your joints. It is a great choice for those who have joint pain, mobility issues or if you simply need more support.
Swetha Devaraj is a Vascular radiologist and fitness coach. She can be contacted on her Instagram page @sweatyshwetha
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids – https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults#.VnOcBTZ2TWQ
- Kathy Do, Ruth E. Brown, Sean Wharton, Chris I. Ardern, Jennifer L. Kuk. Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and metabolic risk factors in a population with mild to severe obesity. BMC Obesity, 2018; 5 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40608-018-0183-7
- York University. (2018, February 12). Study shows benefits of exercise can outweigh health effects of severe obesity: Fat but Fit? You can’t judge a person’s fitness by weight alone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 4, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180212144135.htm
- PLOS. (2019, August 1). Jogging and five other exercises ward off weight gain despite ‘obesity genes’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190801142527.htm
- Wan-Yu Lin, Chang-Chuan Chan, Yu-Li Liu, Albert C. Yang, Shih-Jen Tsai, Po-Hsiu Kuo. Performing different kinds of physical exercise differentially attenuates the genetic effects on obesity measures: Evidence from 18,424 Taiwan Biobank participants. PLOS Genetics, 2019; 15 (8): e1008277 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008277
- The Obesity Society. (2019, July 24). Meal timing strategies appear to lower appetite, improve fat burning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190724103702.htm