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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Barriers, Challenges, or Excuses: Part 4

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Want to get caught up on previous Barrier's, Challenges, or Excuses? Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

Maybe this week's obstacles resonate with you.

First off, it is important to talk with your Doctor to see what activities you CAN do safely. He or she may make recommendations about:
-The types of exercise best suited to you and those which you should avoid
-The intensity of the workout
-The duration of your workout and any physical limitations

Referrals to other professionals, such as an exercise physiologist (with a 4-year degree in exercise science) or Physical Therapist. These professionals have education & experience working with special populations and needs. The type of exercise that works best for you depends on your symptoms, fitness level, and overall health.

Intensive strength training (or tearing down the muscles for the purpose of building them up) may not be beneficial for some medical conditions. For example, the mottos "no pain, no gain" or "feel the burn," are counterproductive for people with MS. If you overdo it you can end up straining an already compromised muscular system, increasing pain and causing your body and mind to become overstressed, overworked, and overtired. But even with MS, moderate strength training twice a week can be very beneficial.

With any medical condition, the benefits to exercise outweigh the drawbacks. Everyone can exercise as long as they commit to it, and know their limitations.

Find the time of day that is best for you—if you hurt in the morning, maybe the afternoon is your ideal time. Also, it’s OK to start out slow. If you have trouble walking, look into other activities like swimming or biking. As long as you’re moving, it’s good for you! And not just physically. Many people with medical conditions find that depression sinks in because their physical abilities have changed, maybe they can't do what they used to do. Exercise is a natural anti-depressant and self esteem-booster, and can enable you to feel productive and energetic.

I am speaking from personal experience when I say that I have had various health conditions. There have been several occasions where I have had to back off of exercise and ease back into it But giving up has never been an option. Listening to your body is crucial.

Just remember, even with a medical condition, there is SOMETHING you can do to maintain or increase your fitness level!

Here's my rule of thumb for this excuse:

If you have (1) counted calories correctly and diligently for at least one month, (2) reduced your daily calories to 1200-1300 (never going below 1200 calories), and are (3) doing 250+ minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week but still are not seeing results, then...

it is probably time to have a blood panel done. There may be something else going on in your body (like hypothyroidism) that is getting in the way of your weight loss. Hormones can contribute as well (estrogen dominance).

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