Starting an exercise program can be especially intimidating for someone suffering from morbid obesity. Your health condition may make any level of physical exertion next to impossible. The benefits of exercise are clear, however. And there are ways to get started.
A National Institutes of Health survey of 13 studies concludes that physical activity:
- Results in modest weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.
- Increases cardiovascular fitness, even when there is no weight loss.
- Can help maintain weight loss.
New theories that focus on the body's set point (the weight range in which your body is programmed to weigh and will fight to maintain that weight) highlight the importance of exercise. When you reduce the number of calories you take in, the body simply reacts by slowing metabolism to burn fewer calories. Daily physical activity can help speed up your metabolism, effectively bringing your set point down to a lower natural weight. So when following a diet to attempt to lose weight, exercise increases your chances of long-term success.
Examples of exercise that can get you started:
- Park at the far end of parking lots and walk to your destination.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Cut down on television.
- Swim or participate in low-impact water aerobics.
- Ride an exercise bike.
Overall, walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Start out slowly and build up. Your doctor, or people in a support group, can offer encouragement and advice. Incorporating exercise into your daily activities will improve your overall health and is important for any long-term weight management program, including weight loss surgery. Diet and exercise play a key role in successful weight loss after surgery.