If you hate to exercise, you'll love this article. Of course, I'm not going to suggest that you skip exercise altogether, but I am going to suggest that you don't exercise very hard. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it's not.
The fact is that easy workouts play an important role in weight loss. Workouts for beginners or for those who have tried and failed to maintain an exercise program are structured differently thaneasy workouts for more advanced exercisers. They also have a different purpose and provide different benefits.
Your goal is to lose weight, right? Weight loss is definitely one of the benefits of an easy workout program. So grab your comfy clothes and let's get started.
What is a weight loss workout?
A weight loss workout is an exercise session where the sole purpose is to help you lose weight. This is different from a workout that is designed to improve sports performance, build strength or increase your endurance. As a beginning exerciser, it is especially important to be clear about the purpose of your workout program so that you can identify and enjoy the benefits as you achieve them.
Benefits of easy workouts
There are numerous benefits to an easy weight loss workout. If you are completely new to exercise, these low intensity workouts will help you burn more calories and as long as you don't compensate by eating more, the pounds will start to fall off. But these workouts have a more important function.
Easy exercise sessions are the building blocks of your fitness program. They will help you to build the habits that will lead to significant weight loss and lifelong weight management. You'll be laying a solid foundation for fitness. More specifically, easy workouts help you to:
- Build self confidence and self awareness
- Establish a daily routine that always includes exercise
- Develop good muscular form gradually
- Improve your ability to sleep well at night
- Decrease your stress level
- Create awareness of the benefits of exercise
- Burn more calories and lose weight!
Health effects of easy workouts
There are also medical benefits to low intensity workouts. Researchers have studied the ways in which easy workouts affect the body. While there has been quite a bit of media attention paid to high intensity workouts, easier sessions still remain a core component of weight loss programs for many different populations, including people with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or high blood pressure.
When researchers studied a group of postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome, they found that a program of low intensity exercise was effective at decreasing body fat and helping them to reduce blood pressure and lower their glucose and triglyceride levels. Since weight loss is often troublesome for post menopausal women, these findings were important.
Another study conducted in France evaluated the effect of easy workouts on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with abdominal weight gain when levels inside the body stay elevated for long periods of time. Study authors found that low intensity exercise was effective at reducing circulating cortisol levels.
Are you ready to get in shape with a simple, easy workout plan? You don't have to do an exhausting, sweaty exercise program to reap weight loss rewards. Try one of these workouts to start your plan.
Sample workout programs for beginners
You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain, so why not start your exercise program now? The point is to do something…anything, on most days of the week. Set a short-term goal to complete 3 workouts during your first week, then add workout days gradually until you are doing some form of activity on most days of the week.
The type of exercise you choose to do is less important than the consistency of your program. But if you are short on ideas, here are a few workouts to get you started.
- Walk. You already know how to do it, so why not structure it into a 30-minute workout and count it as exercise? Walk slowly for five minutes, pick up your pace for 20 minutes, then cool down and walk slowly again for 5 minutes.
- Aqua Jog. If your joints don’t feel good when you walk for long periods of time, try pool running, or aqua jogging. Many public pools provide the blue belt you need to keep your upper body afloat. Once you’re in the water you simply walk without letting your feet touch the bottom of the pool. No belt? Just walk in the water with your feet on the pool floor.
- Bike. Dust off your Schwinn and hop aboard. Take a leisurely spin around the neighborhood or better yet, find a continuous path that allows you to keep pedaling for 30 minutes or so without stopping for lights and traffic.
- Dance. Put on some music, grab your kids, your sweetie, or none of the above and groove for at least 30 minutes. If your neighbors see you in the window, give them a lecture about the benefits of easy exercise and invite them to join you.
Remember, the point is simply to get moving, establish a routine and build confidence. If you want to increase your enjoyment and boost the health benefits add at least five minutes of easy stretch exercises at the end of your session.
Once you’ve established a routine, don’t worry. You don’t have to give up the easy workouts. These low intensity days will continue to play a key role in your weight loss program as recovery days. You’ll eventually add moderate intensity exercise and perhaps even high intensity workouts to boost your metabolism and burn calories. But for now, start slowly and enjoy the ride.
Lyndon J. Joseph, et al. "Weight Loss and Low-Intensity Exercise for the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome in Obese Postmenopausal Women." Journal of Gerontology April 16, 2011.