Exercise Routines for Overweight People

Along with diet, exercise is essential for overweight people to lose weight and return to a healthy body weight. Exercise training should include aerobic exercise and strength training to achieve maximum weight loss and health benefits. Overweight people who are new to exercise should begin gradually. Too much too soon may cause injury or discouragement.


Aerobic Exercise

The minimum amount of exercise necessary to achieve health benefits is 30 minutes at a moderate intensity five days week. Choose an exercise you enjoy and can stick with such as brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, low-impact aerobics or cycling. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity is a good starting point for beginners, and you can break the activity into shorter segments throughout the day until endurance is built up. However, for significant weight loss, 50 minutes or more five days a week may be necessary, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Strength Training

Strength training is essential to include in exercise routines because it helps to increase fat-free mass. The higher amount of fat-free mass in your body, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be, thus helping to decrease fat mass. Begin by performing at least two total body strength training sessions a week. The most effective method of burning fat and building muscle during a strength training session is through circuit training, which involves moving from one exercise to the next with little or no rest between sets.

Sample Circuit Routine

A beginning strength training circuit workout should be performed following a five to 10 minute warm-up. Exercises might include dumbbell squats, dumbbell shoulder press, lat pulldown, straight leg deadlift, dumbbell chest press, cable triceps pressdown, cable biceps curl and abdominal crunches. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise before repeating the circuit one or two more times.

High-Intensity Exercise

After you have spent some weeks building your endurance with exercise, increasing the intensity of your workouts can have a dramatic effect on your metabolism. Following heavy exercise -- such as performing sprint intervals -- your metabolism can stay elevated for several hours after you have finished exercise, and up to 24 hours or longer for prolonged, exhausted exercise, according to Jack H. Wilmore and David L. Costill, authors of Physiology of Sport and Exercise. High-intensity exercise can be in the form of 30-to 60-second sprint intervals on the treadmill, or with weight-training using heavy weights in which fatigue is reached between eight and 12 repetitions and with limited rest periods.


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