It seems like summer has only just arrived, but Memorial Day is fast becoming a memory as Labor Day looms. A silver lining to the turn of the calendar is that temperatures should start cooling, hopefully putting the seemingly nonstop heat waves in the rear view mirror. As we head into cooler months, it is the ideal time to encourage reluctant weight loss patients to begin or restart an exercise program.
The benefits of walking are clearly established and this remains a great option for many because it requires no additional equipment beyond a good pair of shoes and can be done whenever and wherever the patient desires. However, there are many other cardiovascular activities that can be recommended. Suggesting a range of options can address the interests of a broader spectrum of patients and offers greater flexibility and variety for those who quickly become discouraged or bored with their current plan.
- Dancing: There are endless options when it comes to dancing and you can find most of them on YouTube. They offer videos ranging from five to 30 minutes for all levels of expertise. As with walking, this requires no special equipment and because it can be done indoors, it provides privacy for patient’s who may be self-conscious about starting an exercise program.
- Low impact aerobic exercises: The mention of aerobic exercise might conjure Jane Fonda videos, but there are many low-impact exercises that people with obesity can do at their own pace. As with dancing, many resources are available online and these exercises can be done at home, either sitting or standing.
- Swimming: As a non weight-bearing exercise, swimming (or other water exercises) can be a great option for people with obesity who have bone or joint pain or range of motion issues. It is low impact and also helps stretch muscles to increase mobility. As this requires access to a pool, location and financial limitations may restrict this option for some.
- Cycling: Whether a stationery or mobile bicycle is used, cycling burns calories and body fat, raises the metabolic rate and builds muscles. This requires more resources, such as a bicycle (and safe place to ride) or a gym membership.
Combining Cardio and Calorie Restriction
All of these activities improve cardiovascular health, but it is only in combination with weight loss that the greatest benefits are achieved1. Similarly, diet-only approaches are limited in reducing pain or inflammation that can restrict physical function2.
Because exercise facilitates weight loss, it is a critical component to the type of intensive lifestyle intervention needed by patients with obesity, which also should include a calorie-restricted diet, behavioral strategies and counseling. Robard’s New Direction obesity treatment program and products support this type of intervention by providing the tools needed by patients and physicians across disciplines to treat obesity.
While patients with obesity may have unique health conditions, there is a lifestyle intervention that can met their needs and guide them through their weight loss journey. Today is a great day for them to start!
1.Obesity: Pathophysiology and Management
2. Diet-induced Weight Loss Alone or Combined with Exercise in Overweight or Obese People with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
*Robard Corporation, Add Variety to Cardio for Weight Loss Compliance, By Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D. www.robard.com, 06/15/2021, 8/2/2021