Can I do light-weight training to tone up my muscles?
Q: I am a 51 years old woman weighing 75 kg. Can I do light-weight training to tone up my muscles? Can I do crunches to reduce belly fat? I have no medical illness like blood pressure, raised sugar or cholesterol.
A:Of course you can! But you must get a go-ahead from your doctor after a thorough check-up, if you have not exercised before. Do read the following to get started:
At the onset, fitness has to be a lifelong commitment and not just timed goal, involving lifestyle changes that can be easily adapted. The slower you lose the weight, the surer you can be that it will stay off for good. A yardstick to go by, is approximately 2-3 kilos reduction, a month.
A good way to get fit or lose weight is to combine calorie-reduction with spending calories as much as you can. That means, if your intake is less than your expenditure, you are bound to lose weight and get fitter in the bargain!
To achieve the latter, you have to eat a balanced, nutritious meal which our dietician will be able to help you with. It may not be a good idea to miss any meal as that slows the metabolism down and hinders weight loss.
To aid that process, you may like to add on ANY exercise you can manage to get. The best results are when the exercise should be regular and consistent, but the good news is that every bit counts! So find some way of incorporating any activity into your daily routine like walking to the office, school, up the stairs; any weekend routine can also be of help.
If you want to get on a serious weight loss plan, besides commitment, you need to go in for a 4 pronged plan
You need to work on building your heart-lung (cardiovascular) endurance. Take up any activity from cycling to running or jogging to skiing to swimming to even brisk walking to get going into good health. This kind of activity will draw upon the fat stores in the body for generating fuel to last that long. The presence of oxygen (controlled breathing during this workout, instead of huffing and puffing) will mobilize the fat to get utilised instead of stored. This will take care of the fat that lies ABOVE THE muscles. Thankfully, any aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate can help you burn fat and take off unwanted pounds. Many experts recommend doing at least three sessions of 20 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Ideally, for long-term weight control, you should engage in at least four sessions per week, for 45-60 minutes each time. Recent research shows that even if you break this up into periods that add to this amount of time, you can reap in benefits.
- Resistance/Weight Training or Yoga
Get a yoga teacher to train you in the complete area of yoga or you can join a gym or work out at home with an overall weight training program so that the lean mass percentage in the entire body increases. Balance your abdominal and oblique crunches and leg lifts with an equal amount of effort for the lower back to ensure it is not weak (for the mid section). Ensure that you work out the rest of the body for the best results.
If you can not visit a gym, nor do yoga, get a comprehensive regime going on your own, by incorporating push-ups (for the upper body), squats or lunges (for the lower body), along with the mid section workout. Grab some bottles filled with water to get those toned arms by doing bicep curls and tricep extensions and lo and behold, you are covered well enough with this schedule! Just remember some basic rules of correct form and technique while performing and keep at least a day’s gap between working out the same body part. And remember, exercises such as these, only improve the tone and endurance of the muscles, they don't burn fat.
- Healthy diet spread through the day, not night
Eating the right food out of habit rather than as a fad, can work wonders for an extra middle. Keep the calories light and spread out through the day rather than bunching them all at night and then sleeping on it, when the body's metabolic rate is the slowest.
- Holding tummy in and posture upright
Sitting up tall and straight all day with your tummy tucked in tight can assist in firming up the muscles in the midsection, which in turn appears more slender and trim.