When you're 50 pounds overweight, it may feel overwhelming to consider how far you have to go to achieve a state of fitness. True, losing that excess weight will take time -- but don't focus on that for now. As you get started, your focus should be on developing the habit of exercising. The more you do it, the easier it will get and the more enjoyable it will be -- which may compel you to make it a daily habit that can lead to long-term weight loss.
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Don't Go It Alone
It's important to talk to your doctor before you start an exercise routine, particularly when you're 50 pounds overweight. Your doctor may want to screen you for certain chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. She may also inform you of precautions you should take when exercising. If you can afford it, you may also benefit from working with a personal trainer, at least for a few sessions. The trainer will be able to give you tips specific to your situation and also help you learn how to do new exercises safely.
Walk It Off
With the added weight you're carrying, vigorous kinds of exercise may be more difficult for you than for other people. Fortunately, walking is among the most effective exercises for everyone. Start out at a slow to moderate pace to help reduce pain in your joints as you move. Set a goal, such as walking two blocks, and commit to doing it two or three days of your first week. Achieving that goal can give you the confidence to increase your routine the next week. The following week, try walking three blocks. And then walk a total of four blocks the week after that. The key here is that you're developing the habit of exercise. You'll be burning calories too, but you're also training your body and mind to develop a healthy response to movement. As you get stronger, make your walks longer, and add intensity by heading up hills. Aim for a total of 30 minutes a day, five days a week walking at a brisk pace.
Work Out in the Pool
Water-based exercise is also ideal for people who are 50 pounds overweight, as the water will help reduce the strain of extra weight. Swimming is a great exercise, but some gyms also offer water aerobics and water-walking classes. If you're not ready for the rigors of a 30- to 60-minute class, get in the pool and do your own workout. Set a goal to be in the pool doing active exercise for 10 minutes to start. Try running in place or walking from one end of the pool to the other, swinging your arms from under the water to above it. Try simply treading in water, which requires you to move both your arms and legs. Hold onto the sides and kick your legs, or use a kickboard and kick across the pool.
Work On Strength
After a few weeks of sticking with a regular routine of walking or water exercise, you should also add strength training into your routine. This type of exercise will help you build muscle, lose more fat and strengthen your bones. If you're experiencing pain in your joints, don't do the exercises that cause you pain. This is where a personal trainer can help you develop a program that works for you. To start out, get a set of 1-, 5- or 10-lb. dumbbells and do bicep curls, triceps kickbacks, lunges and step-ups two days a week, helping you develop arm and leg strength. As you get stronger, add bench presses, overhead shoulder presses and squats. Over time, you'll need to move to a heavier weight to continue making progress. The ideal amount of weight to lift for each exercise is one that makes your muscles feel tired toward the end of the set.