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Weight-bearing exercises will help you fight obesity by losing weight

Child at the Doctor's Office

Weight-bearing exercises, are a form of physical activity when you use your body's weight – or extra weights – to work your muscles. This does not necessarily require specialized equipment,  or a fitness club membership. Basically, each time when you carry something heavy, or push against something, or even simply move against gravity while staying upright - you do a weight-bearing exercise! 

Here are some examples:


  • Walking: possibly the easiest way to start!

  • Hiking: especially in hilly terrain, provides a great workout and strengthens your legs

  • Jogging/running: a more intense way to train your muscle

  • Dancing: bringing fun into exercise

  • Resistance training: squats, push-ups, deadlifts; in the gym, or in your own home

  • Yoga: some yoga poses, requiring supporting body in various ways (such as Warrior poses, Downward dog) are great examples of weight-bearing exercise

  • Tennis: a lot of running and jumping:  a lot of weight-bearing!

  • Water walking/water aerobics: while exercises performed in water are not technically weight-bearing exercises (as water helps to maintain your weight against gravity), they share many benefits of them. They help you strengthen your muscles without putting extra strain on your joints.


How do they help fight obesity?


  • Burning calories: When you exercise, your heart rate and metabolic needs increase, which means that your body needs more calories… and your fat tissue is a great source of these calories. That is how physical activity helps to burn your extra fat.

  • Building muscle: Weight-bearing exercises help make your muscles stronger and bigger. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which means that it uses more energy, comparing to fat tissue. In other words: more muscles means you burn more calories all day, even when you rest!

  • Preventing muscle loss while losing weight:  While losing their extra pounds, many people also experience loss of part of their muscle tissue. This is not a desirable effect: all in all, extra fat is what you want to get rid of! Weight-bearing exercises are essential to make sure that you your muscles do not get weaker while you go on on your path of achieving the healthy weight. 


Additional benefits from weight-bearing exercises: 

  • They help to keep your bones strong: Exercises increase your bone density, which means - stronger bones! This is very important,  as it decreases the risk of osteoporosis - condition that may make your bones prone to fractures.

  • They make you feel good: Many studies have shown that weight-bearing exercises lift up your mood and improve sense of well-being. For many people, weight-bearing exercises performed outdoors, in the nature setting - for example, hiking, or jogging - are a great way to decrease stress. 


Tips for safe and effective practice:


  • Check with a doctor: Before starting any new form of physical activity, you should, talk to your doctor to make sure that you practice in a safe manner. As these extra pounds you have put an additional stress on your joints and tendons, it is important not to overtrain yourself to avoid injury.

  • Start slowly: If you have exercised for quite some time, start with less intense activities, such as walking, instead of running.

  • Systematic practice is key to success: Try to do some exercise most days of the week, even if it's just for a few minutes.

  • Have fun: If neighbourhood walks or nature hikes seem boring to you - no problem! Pick activities you like: maybe dancing to your favorite music will be the right thing for you? Or maybe listening to a favourite podcast or audiobook will make your morning jog much more exciting?

  • Find company: It is much easier to stick to your exercise regime if you are not alone. Maybe a friend or family member will be willing to hike or practice yoga together with you? 

  • Don’t forget about healthy eating and nutrition: for more tips on that, check out our… section!

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