Is walking at your normal walking rate, but increasing the distance you walk, sufficient enough to be considered exercise? Can anyone recommend exercises for people who are very underconditioned and extremely obese, but not in poor cardiac health? And, finally, is there a medical professional who is the equivalent of a gym's personal trainer? (More inside.)
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (38 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an extremely obese man; my weight now borders on 350 pounds. I do understand that this is an unhealthy situation for me, and as both a longstanding project and a New Year's resolution, I am trying to get myself down to a manageable weight. (I am posting this anonymously because I don't wish to acknowledge the extent of my obesity or my underconditioning publicly, where it could be Googled, and I also discuss a bit of my medical history below.)
Weight loss, at its most essential element, is burning more calories than you take in; for a long time, I have only attacked that problem from the perspective of reducing intake, instead of adding exercise to my routine. I wish to do the latter now. The problem is that thanks to my weight, exercise is extremely difficult. Even walking up one flight of stairs is enough to take the wind out of my sails. I tried swimming, as I heard that this was a kinder exercise process to obese people, but found it to be extremely difficult as well. When I say "difficult," please know I am aware that exercise is not supposed to be an easy process, but at the same time, you obviously need to be able to sustain a level of exercise for a period of time in order for it to be any good. I cannot walk stairs continuously, and I don't think I can swim continuously, either.
My thoughts about how I might best improve the situation is by increasing the amount of walking I do per day: I have already been walking approximately 0.5 miles each way to and from work, which means I'm walking a mile already. My thought was that by getting off at earlier stops on the subway, I could increase the amount of distance I walk each day. However, if my memory serves me correctly, exercise isn't "exercise" unless you are not able to sing, but still can talk, when you are exercising. I'm concerned that merely increasing the distance I walk will not be sufficient to be "exercise," and yet I'm not sure where to go from here in terms of getting myself from an underconditioned, extremely unhealthy situation to one where I can begin exercising routinely. Would it be sufficient to just start walking longer distances at a normal rate, and then eventually segue into walking those distances more quickly?
As a side note, my heart, as far as I know, is fine. I conducted both a stress test and an echocardiogram in the fall of 2006, and both indicated that there were no blockages in my heart or reasons to be concerned about it. I'm 32 years old, and that works in my favor.
So, to boil down this post to its basics: is walking at your normal walking rate, but increasing the distance you walk, sufficient enough to be considered exercise? Can anyone recommend exercises for people who are very underconditioned and extremely obese, but not in poor cardiac health?
And, finally, is there a medical professional who is the equivalent of a gym's personal trainer? I'm entirely unwilling to shell out mercenary rates to a personal trainer, nor has any personal trainer I've ever interacted with been interested in doing anything more for me than trying to sell me on an extended lesson plan; that having been said, I would like to turn to a medical professional to assist me in designing a workout that could assist me in getting back in better shape. I, however, have no idea what field that professional would be in.