Should I lose weight as part of an exercise regime?

Health
17 May 2016
There is a lot more to health and fitness than dieting - changing what you eat as part of your general lifestyle is advisable.

Eating healthily and taking regular exercise is essential at any stage of life - but it becomes more important than ever when you are no longer in work. 

This is a big change in life and losing the structure and routine can make it more difficult to make a conscious effort to keep fit. 

However, it is worth the extra work, as an exercise regimen can help keep your body healthy, ensure your immune system is better able to fight off infection and illness and can also give your daily and weekly routine some structure. 

But is losing weight an advisable part of such a routine? 

There certainly are many benefits to shedding a few pounds. It's good for your heart, your joints will be subject to less strain and it can help boost your self-esteem and confidence. 

Here are a few pointers to bear in mind if you are planning on losing weight. 

Speak to your doctor

Exercising requires a change in lifestyle to be effective - it is no good going on a crash diet and working your body harder for a little while before going back to the same routine. 

Speaking to your doctor is advisable, as they will be able to help you establish what's best for your body. 

Indeed, some ostensibly positive lifestyle changes can even be harmful for those with conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart issues or high blood pressure. 

Realistic goals

It is essential that any weight loss goal is a realistic one. Many of us would love to return to the low weight we enjoyed in our youth but it is often the case that it is simply no longer possible. 

Aiming for this is likely to result in frustration and failure - so aim for something more attainable, such as five per cent of your current body weight. This can have a positive impact on health by lowering both blood pressure and blood sugar. 

Nutrition

As we get older, we burn fewer calories because of decreased activity levels. You may find you naturally eat fewer calories because of this change, but it is important to keep track of this. 

Nutrition is key to success in weight loss programmes - so avoid calories from chips, soda and sugary treats, instead opting for nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains. 

Food diary

Nutritional discipline can be complemented with a food diary. People are much more likely to successfully lose weight if they keep a record of what they eat, as they will not lose track and undermine their own efforts by sneaking one too many treats. 

Diaries can help you identify where you can easily cut some unwanted calories from your diet, as well as ensuring your diet is carefully balanced throughout the day. 

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