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Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Weight Loss & Fitness Channel > Fitness

How to Make the Most Out of Low-impact Exercise
by Carole S. Guinane

By adding physical activity to your daily routine, low-impact exercise can be one of the most effective ways to begin a long-term weight loss commitment. The benefit of low-impact exercise lies in the fact that you don't need to engage in overly stressful activities to experience the benefits of regular exercise. In fact, there are plenty of low-impact activities that can provide a sufficient workout and help you meet your long term weight loss goals. If you want to begin incorporating exercise into your daily routine but don't know where to start, consider some of the following tips to develop a low-impact exercise regimen as part of your weight loss program.

1. Get yourself moving
As you plan your low-impact exercise regimen, you should first think about ways to add movement to your daily life. One of the easiest ways to incorporate low-impact exercise into your daily routine is walking. You can begin by making simple changes such as parking your car further away when shopping or at work. As your stamina increases, you may want to consider taking longer walks around your neighborhood or during your breaks at work. By adding just a few extra minutes of physical activity to your day when beginning your exercise regimen, you will be making the first major step toward your weight loss and lifestyle goals.

2. Set realistic goals and don't overdo it
Though the first step is often the most difficult, it is important to maintain realistic expectations when you begin exercising. To prevent yourself from becoming discouraged with exercise, you should try not to expect too much, too quickly. Set achievable goals for yourself, such as walking around the block, or taking the stairs instead of the escalator. Though you may want to push yourself during the early stages of your exercise plan, don't overexert yourself. By preventing yourself from overdoing it initially, you have a better chance of meeting your goals in the long term. Most importantly, after establishing your long term goals, constantly remind yourself that you have already made an important lifestyle change and focus on your day-to-day activity.

3. Find your own way to exercise
Like many other things in life, the low-impact exercise that works for one person may not be right for another. Therefore, when creating an exercise plan for yourself, you should try to find activities that you enjoy and are able to do comfortably. Start by finding ways to exercise with items that are easily accessible to you. For instance, use 12 oz water bottles or canned veggies to do arm curls. Or perform modified leg lifts while sitting in your chair by raising and lowering your knees one leg at time. As time goes on and the intensity of your exercise increases, you can add other hobbies and activities that interest you to your exercise plan. By focusing on things you enjoy, you will not only decrease your chances of losing motivation but you might even find some fun new activities along the way.

4. Talk about exercise with your doctor
Upon setting your goals and beginning your low-impact exercise regimen, you should discuss your plans with your doctor. Taking your goals and health into account, your doctor will be able to recommend the most effective low-impact exercise techniques. Along the way, your doctor will also be able to monitor your weight loss progress and help you meet your goals by making adjustments to your exercise regimen and diet.

5. Stick to your plan
To make sure that you meet all of your long term goals, you will need to do your best to stick to your exercise plan. Though beginning a low-impact exercise regimen will be hard work and you may experience bad days, try to keep your goals in mind and remember that many people have succeeded in changing their lives by starting small.

Try not to get discouraged if you miss a day of exercise. Simply continue your exercise plan as scheduled and spend a few extra minutes walking or light weightlifting if you feel up to it. Most importantly, like those who have already succeeded in losing large amounts of weight and changing their lifestyles, be confident in knowing that--with patience and perseverance--you can do it too!

In short, like any other type of exercise, the secret to a successful low-impact exercise regimen is commitment. By starting small with simple movements and lifestyle changes, you will eventually gain stamina and be able to participate in new activities. Just remember that if you remain motivated and have fun along the way, your low-impact exercise regimen will go a long ways towards helping you meet your long term weight loss and lifestyle goals.

About the Author:
Carole S. Guinane, RN, MBA, is an accomplished author of several books and articles on clinical pathways, Six Sigma, patient focus care and quality tools and methodologies. She received her MBA and nursing degree from Colorado State University, Pueblo and is a practicing Master Black Belt in Six Sigma. She currently serves as the Chief Clinical Officer forNewHope Bariatrics, Inc.


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