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It should go without saying that a diet program is most effective when paired with sensible, reasonable weight loss programs. While weight can be lost without exercise, it takes a lot longer time and it not nearly as healthy for the body as a whole.
For a lot of people, exercise seems very off putting. The very term brings to mind thoughts of commercial gyms like Bally’s, Gold’s, or any number of others where extremely fit people run effortlessly on treadmills for hours on end and very muscular folks sweat and grunt and lift massive amounts of weight endlessly. All in all, gyms can be very intimidating places to walk into.
And there is the cost issue as well to consider. Gyms are in business to make money and they do that by charging you membership fees every month and by trying to sell you either group or personal training sessions.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t think there is anything wrong with any of this. In fact, I am a gym member myself but there is another method of getting exercise that is, for many people, more effective than a gym membership and much less costly.
Seriously, coupling a program of walking to lose weight to go along with your diet is a very effective way to lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase bone health, and improve your heart at the same time. Best of all, walking doesn’t require any specialized equipment outside of a good pair of shoes.
A good beginning walking program should concentrate on the amount of time spent walking rather than distance. Keep in mind that exercise does not necessarily need to be hard to be effective. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle you might want to start out walking three or four times a week for 20 minutes at a leisurely pace. From there concentrate on working up to 5 times a week for 30 minutes each.
Once you have improved to that point its time to begin focusing on either time or distance. Which one is entirely up to you but the goal, in the end, is intensity. If you decide to walk three miles daily but take three hours to do it, that is not an effective level of exercise.
There are several ways to check the effectiveness of your exercise. One is to purchase a simple heart monitor (usually under $20) and exercise hard enough to bring up your heart rate to about 70% to 75% of your target heart rate (THR). This is the heart rate achieved during exercise where your heart and lungs are getting the most benefit from your exercise. There are different ways to determine THR and you should have a discussion with your doctor about what level is appropriate for you.
Another method is what is known as the “talk test”. This test is based on how hard you are breathing. If you can talk in brief sentences of a few words you are probably in the right exercise zone. On the other hand, if you can’t catch your breath to speak at all, you need to slow down. And, if you are talking normally then you probably aren’t exercising hard enough.
When everything is said and done, the most important part of any diet and exercise program is you. If you make reasonable and healthy choices and stick with your program daily you will have success.
write by Layton Johnson