How heavy is too heavy?

BMI or Body Mass Index  assesses body weight relative to height. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight and a BMI over 30 is considered a risk factor for heart disease. BMI is a useful measurement to determine what is a healthy body weight but it does not take into account your body composition, ie: lean body weight versus body fat.

Waist size is another way to determine if your current weight is in a healthy range. Waist size greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women is also considered a risk factor for heart disease.

No matter what your current body weight, regular physical activity is important for maintaining or improving your health.

Exercise can help with weight loss and maintenance of a healthy body weight but contrary to popular belief, exercise alone will not help you lose weight. Along with exercise you must change the types of food and the amounts of food you eat to successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight.

Aerobic Exercise

Exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise is recommended. Exercise at least 3 days each week. Exercise can be done in one session each day or in multiple short sessions. If you cannot do this much exercise, especially when you first start exercising that is OK. This is amount of exercise is recommended but any amount you do will improve your health.

Aerobic or endurance exercise is one important part of your cardiovascular disease prevention strategy. Adding resistance and flexibility training will provide even more benefit.

Resistance Exercise

Resistance training can increase your strength, making your daily activities easier. Exercise for all upper and lower body major muscle groups 2 to 3 days each week. You can perform resistance training on consecutive days but not for the same muscles. Allow at least 48 hours rest between exercise sessions for each muscle group. Resistance training can be done with machines, free weights, elastic bands, or body weight resistance.

Flexibility Exercise

This is most effective after your resistance or aerobic training sessions when your muscles are warm. Stretches should be done for all major muscle groups at least 2 to 3 days each week. Stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds for a total of 60 seconds for each muscle group.

Balance / Agility Exercise

Balance and agility is not only important for sports, it is also important for day to day activities. Activities such as climbing a ladder, standing on one foot to put your pants on, or getting in and out of a boat require considerable balance and agility. There are many ways to improve your balance skills such as standing on one foot, doing exercises on a wobble board or BOSU ball, Tai Chi, or yoga. Balance exercises should be done at least 2 to 3 days each week.