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Question of the Month - April 2013
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Question of the Month - April 2013

This month’s question is:  What are your favorite weight loss exercises?  Do you exercise on a daily basis?  How many minutes/day?  Do you work out at home or go to a gym? Alone or with a partner?

We see all types of questions on the forum asking for ideas on exercise.  There is such a wide variety and we all know that we have to pick those exercises that we enjoy and will stick with.  We also know that it’s important to combine aerobics with strength training.

There are no right or wrong answers; simply what you find most enjoyable for exercise.
30 Comments Post a Comment
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649848_tn?1357751184
There are a lot of things I like to do, but unfortunately, some of them aren’t practical for my circumstances.  

I’ve always loved to walk, so that’s my # 1 “go to” exercise.  I have a “winter neighbor” who is here from Oct – Apr, so I have a walking partner all winter.  During the summer, since it gets so hot here (and my husband doesn’t like me walking alone), I often resort to the treadmill.  

My second favorite is yoga.  Yoga is very relaxing and because it centers on breathing, balance, stretching and core strength, it’s good for everyone.  There are yoga workouts for every level of activity, including yoga for seniors and chair yoga for those who can’t stand or balance well.

This winter, I’ve added a couple new activities.  One is line dancing.  I began classes a few weeks ago and though the class is only one day/week, the instructor gives me step sheets and music, so I can practice at home.  

The other I’m adding is zumba.  I know we’ve had members who have lost quite a bit of weight doing zumba; I was never really familiar with it until the nurse at my doctor’s office, who is guiding my weight loss efforts, suggested it, so I started researching and decided that it looked like fun.

As far as a gym?  Many years ago, I bought an annual membership to a gym; a friend and I went, faithfully, 3 times/week for about 3 months, then because we both had infants and jobs, it pretty much fell by the wayside, so ended up being a waste of money. Didn’t try that again.

A few years ago, I joined Curves and I think that would have been good, except they kept changing locations and didn’t notify members (or at least me).  I’d stop and workout on my way home from work, but then, they changed their hours, closing for lunch for 2 hours, so I’d get there before their lunch break was over.  That was about the time I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I was so sick and so tired all the time, I couldn’t wait around for them to reopen, especially, since they were often late getting back from their lunch. Then came the day that I arrived only a few minutes before they were to reopen from lunch, it was pouring down rain and the person inside refused to unlock the door and let me (and another person) get in out of the rain.  I never went back.

So much for my “structured” exercise……. Everything I do now, is based on what I like to do and when I have time to do it. I do need to set my mind to being a bit  more structured, because it’s too easy to let something more interesting (less strenuous) take the place of my workout.

Motivation, anyone?
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875426_tn?1325532016
A little levity here- how about the exercise of stepping onto the bathroom scale and seeing I've lost a little weight?
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Avatar_f_tn
LOL and hooray for you!  
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875426_tn?1325532016
I enjoy seeing it happen from time to time.  My favorite exercise is walking around the house to music.  
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Dog
This so like me and besides I never had to worry about weigh loss before now.  I have hypothyroidism and I understand about being so tried.   I am trying now to get in  routine to exercise since my doc said it will help with weigh loss.  I gain it like over night now I have to learn something new and keep with it.  I like to walk and want to do yoga.  

Did you go to a class to do yoga or from tapes?   Please advise. Thanks.  
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649848_tn?1357751184
I, too, gain weight over night...... how does this happen?

The first thing you have to do, with hypothyroidism is to make sure your thyroid levels are adequate "for you" - not just "in range" on the lab reports. That's one of the biggest chores that many hypos have.

You also  have to look at insulin resistance, PCOS, etc because they, too, will cause you to gain/be unable to lose weight.

I don't go to classes for yoga...... I've learned to do it from DVD or Wii. My favorite yoga dvd is "Biggest Loser; Yoga for Weight Loss"...... It really does work; shame on me for not keeping up with it; I didn't vary activity enough, so I got bored with it........ I'm going back to it now, though.

Have you had vitamin B12 levels tested to make sure you aren't deficient?  B12 deficiency can make you SO tired.... I used to "nap" while sitting at red lights; I'd pray for the light to stay red longer so I could rest...... how scary is that?
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649848_tn?1357751184
"A little levity here- how about the exercise of stepping onto the bathroom scale and seeing I've lost a little weight?"  Awesome, except when every time you step on the scale the number is higher, rather than lower......totally discouraging.

If you see a loss every time you step on the scale, we'd love to see your secret.  
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875426_tn?1325532016
Now, now- we were talking about my FAVORITE exercise.  ;0)

If I saw a loss every time, I'd eventually go clear down to being underweight!

  But here's a kind of tip- I have a goal weight in the morning for before breakfast and without shoes.  I typically am around 2-3 pounds above that.  When it is creeping up to the 3 pounds, it motivates me to exercise more and often times, be more careful in regards to my food intake.

I have an advantage of sorts many aren't blessed with... I have been given the gift of tachycardia, so my heart is typically getting a work out every day, which likely is helping me with my weight.      
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649848_tn?1357751184
LOL -- sorry, misunderstood at first. Yes, a favorite exercise would be to step on the scale and see a loss......... love it when that happens, but that's not very often for me and a lot of others that suffer from hypothyroidism and/or insulin resistance.

I think your metabolism is more of an advantage than your tachy.  You have to give your whole body a work out, not just your heart. Increased heart rate/tachy can be detrimental to your health. I had tachy, too and had to go on a beta blocker to slow it down......

Increased heart rate is good when exercising, as long as you don't overdo, because you're burning calories;  tachy is not so good, because your heart's racing when your body isn't; not good.  
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875426_tn?1325532016
Metabolism and dietary intake, yes, but got to look on the bright side of my dysautonomia here.  The heart's getting plenty of exercise and people seem to frequently talk about cardio exercise type work outs being highly desirable, so they seem to think getting your heart rate up is an important part of things.  

Building muscle and not letting it break down into flab and bone health are  positive goals when it comes to physical exercise.  When muscle building, people just have to keep in mind the goal of inches lost around the waist and hips versus being so focused on decreased weight, because muscle weighs more than fat.  

Hypothyroidism, Cushing's, whatever medical problem that makes it tough in the weight department definitely adds unique challenges to weight management.  

Also, if a person is on SSRis that cause weight gain, shifting to over the counter supplements, like Naturemade brand Sam-E and fish or flaxseed oil capsules, etc. if possible, is a non-physical exercise of advantage.  I gained, if I remember right 35 pounds on generic Celexa and lost some of it after going off of it.
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Dog
I find that going TO classes has been really good for my health and is easier to stick to than home videos. I went to a couple different "dance" studios before I found one I liked, where I wasn't intimidated by the staff or the other people working out. Zumba is really fun, even if you have NO coordination, but some classes are MUCH easier to follow along with. If you go to one and it isn't that fun and you are completely lost, try it a few times, but if you still don't like it, try another gym/ studio.

It can also be pricey, but groupon always has deals for "punch cards", etc., so try a few out. The studio I go to is awesome, constantly adding classes (kickboxing, zumba, Brazillian Butt, core, boot camp, tap dance, kettlebell, etc), and currently has a groupon that equates to $2.50 per class. If you use the shopdiscover link (through Discover card, if you have one), you get another 15% off, meaning the class is $2.08, for one hour, and to burn 600-900 calories. That's a great investment! Good luck in finding what you enjoy, so that it's easy to do!
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Avatar_f_tn
I enjoy working out on my treadmill at home.  I try to get in 4-5 workouts per week, 3 miles per workout, which takes about 1 hour.

I feel more comfortable exercising alone at home.  I also do some stretching exercises.  
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649848_tn?1357751184
We all have to try to look on the bright side of what ails us. Lord knows, I have enough going against me to make it nearly impossible to get a pound off; I try to keep a happy face.......lol

Cardio is important, as is getting the heart rate up during exercise, as that strengthens the heart; however, the heart rate should go back down, once the exercise is done.  Having a continuously high heart rate, puts extra stress on the heart. But I'm sure you know that.

"Building muscle and not letting it break down into flab and bone health are  positive goals when it comes to physical exercise.  When muscle building, people just have to keep in mind the goal of inches lost around the waist and hips versus being so focused on decreased weight, because muscle weighs more than fat."

Totally agree that getting inches off is just as important as getting the pounds off; too often (and I'm guilty of this, too) we only look at the scale and when it's not budging, we get discouraged.  I'm sure you know that muscle doesn't really "weigh more" than fat.  A pound is a pound, no matter what it's made of.  You can compare muscles and fat to rocks and feathers.  Muscles and rocks are very dense and compact.  A relatively small rock can easily weigh a pound; same goes for muscle. Neither the one pound rock, nor the pound of muscle will take up much space.  Then compare fat and feathers...... both are big and "fluffy", so they take up a lot of space.   A smaller muscular person can actually weigh more than a larger fat person, because the muscle is so dense, it doesn't take up much space, whereas fat just kind of "spreads out".

woman15r - If one can afford a gym/dance studio and it helps them stay on focused and on track, that's awesome.  My problem is getting to the gym; it's too easy to put off.

Jannie411 - while I like to work out with others, I'm really more likely to work out if I do it at home, because I can do it whenever it's convenient and/or I'm in the mood.   I have a treadmill, as well, and when I'm not able to walk outside, I generally do about 5-6 miles on the treadmill, varying the speed, so I can get in some "interval" training.
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875426_tn?1325532016
Yes, I know a continuously high rate stresses the heart.  I'm thankful I don't have it continuously!

You said: 'A smaller muscular person can actually weigh more than a larger fat person, because the muscle is so dense, it doesn't take up much space, whereas fat just kind of "spreads out".'  This statement matches up with my understanding that muscle weighs more than fat, the heavier weight of muscle owing to its density.

Back to exercise- I find that if one person starts doing their walking exercise at home, it can be an encouragement for someone else in the house to follow suit, which is really nice & upbeat music that makes a person feel like moving is a plus.

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649848_tn?1357751184
"This statement matches up with my understanding that muscle weighs more than fat, the heavier weight of muscle owing to its density."

A pound of muscle is not heavier than a pound of fat, because a pound is a pound, no matter what it's made of.  The pound of  muscle is smaller (takes up less space) because it's denser, than the pound of fat, but it still weighs the same.

I know you're right, for the most part, about one person exercising being able to get others in the household going; I wish it worked that way for me!!  I walk 3-6 miles, most days and I wish my walking would get my husband going!!   Or my dancing would get him dancing......  He's very tall and thin and thinks "exercise" is walking to the bathroom and back to his chair...... LOL  Makes it much harder for me, going it alone.
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2020005_tn?1404435525
My favorite exercise right now is Zumba, I did it for about 4 months before getting pregnant with my daughter and lost over 15lbs. I don't think it's as "fun" as it's said to be, but it's definitely more fun than running, haha! I also love taking my kids for walks on nice days, unfortunately it's still pretty cold out here, and with a 3 month old I can't take her out if it's really cold, so we're waiting for the weather to warm up. I will be alternating Zumba and walking every other day, so I will be doing one or the other every other day. Right now, building up and just starting, I'm doing Zumba every other day. The routine I'm doing right now is about 41 minutes, and I do it alone, I don't think I would do Zumba in a group, just not comfortable with it!
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649848_tn?1357751184
Do you like the zumba?  I have a dvd that I haven't tried yet...... I currently have a walking partner and we go for at least an hour, most mornings.  She'll be leaving in 2 weeks to go back to OR for the summer and I'll be on my own....  right now, that scares me death, because I've been through a pretty tough winter, losing an elderly Aunt that I cared for, for 7 years.......

My husband doesn't like me walking alone, though I don't see a problem....

Of course, you can't take a 3 month old out walking in severely cold weather, so it's great that you're alternating the zumba and walking.  Actually, that's what my doctor has recommended for me, so I once my walking partner is gone, I'll be doing the same thing...... only my summer walking is done on the treadmill, because it's too hot, here in the summer to walk very far and it really has to be more of a "stroll" than a walk because of the heat.

We're in this together......
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2020005_tn?1404435525
I love Zumba compared to my other exercises, it's painful, but that's good, means it's working haha. I like it much better than traditional exercise. Do you know which dvd you have? I have the Activate dvd and it's great, when I get a little more used to it I'll switch to one of the more intense, longer dvds, I just don't want to plateau. I was doing a very intense dvd before I had my daughter and I ended up with shin splits, so good sneakers and stretching is important before that kind of exercise of course, otherwise I think that will be my key to weight loss. I'm not much of a runner or traditional exerciser. I like to not be miserable the whole time haha!

I've just went through something similar, a month ago on the 10th my very, very, healthy uncle died unexpectedly of an an aneurism (aneurysm), and he was only 46, so it really has opened my eyes to my health and how short life is, I really want to be as healthy as I can for my family.

My husband also doesn't like me walking alone, especially with the kids, and he definitely needs to get into gear exercising too, so he will be joining me when the weather gets nicer, otherwise I have no alternative. I really need to get a treadmill.

I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been on MedHelp for a while throughout my pregnancy, breastfeeding, and now hopefully on my journey to a healthier weight!!
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875426_tn?1325532016
I'm sorry there is a misunderstanding going on here.

I'm not saying weigh a pound of fat and weigh a pound of muscle and somehow, it will be different.  I'm saying the density, the thickness of inches of muscle built up will add weight all the while, hopefully, the less dense unwanted flab is being burned off.  

So, if a person is building densely packed, weighty muscle tissue with working out, do not be discouraged if the scale is not showing a quick reduction in pounds that may be hoped for, but instead, look for a loss in inches around the waist and hips as a sign of encouragement.  

I hope this clears things up.

I hope though your husband, blessed with slenderness, is not participating in trying to keep fit along with you at home, he is an encouragement to you in your efforts to trim down.  
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649848_tn?1357751184
We're saying the same thing, to a certain extent.  My whole point was that muscle doesn't "weigh more" than fat, because a pound is a pound; it's simply denser (packed tighter) so takes up less space. You can weigh more with muscle and look trim; whereas with fat, you simply look fat, because it's fluffy and takes up a lot of space....... lol

No, unfortunately, my slender husband does not participate in trying to keep fit, nor does he encourage or make it particularly easy for me; in some ways he actually makes it more difficult by making, what I consider, rude/inappropriate remarks when I'm trying to exercise.  He'll say things like "if you don't be careful, you're going to hurt yourself" or "you're a pretty old woman to be doing things like that" or "watch out, you're going to throw something out of joint"; to  him it's funny, to me, it's ridicule.  There have been times when I've simply stopped exercising, in order to avoid these comments, because discouragement is the last thing someone who is overweight needs to hear. He's better now than he used to be because I've tried to convince him that if a person stays healthy and keeps moving, moving isn't going to hurt them; it's when they stop moving that things go wrong.

I find that people who don't need to lose weight tend to "pooh pooh" those of us who do, simply because they have normal/high metabolism and have no idea what it's like to struggle with weight loss.

This is all relatively new to me, as well, because I never had a weight problem until my thyroid whacked in 2007; it's been a constant struggle every since.  If I weren't going through it, I might not believe how hard it is.
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875426_tn?1325532016
If you were to weigh two square inches of muscle and then two square inches of fat, which do you think would weigh more?  Or do you believe each two square inch chunk would weigh the same?

I'm glad your husband has improved.  He may be concerned about your hurting yourself, but he does need to understand it could hurt you and consequently him (assuming he doesn't want to lose you) if you don't work on the weight, a risk factor and a detriment to your health.  I think it's great you care enough to exercise- if he says something again, maybe you can tell him you are doing it for him as well as for yourself?

My metabolism changed some with surgical menopause, but I believe it is even harder for those of you with a thyroid issue and takes a lot of discipline!
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649848_tn?1357751184
Your 2 square inches of muscle will weigh more than the 2 square inches of fat, of course, because the muscle is packed densely, while the fat is "fluffy" as I said at the very beginning.  The fact still remains that an ounce is an ounce and a pound is pound, no matter what it's made of....... go back to my example of the rocks and feathers.  A relatively small rock can easily weigh a pound, but look at the amount of feathers it takes to make a pound.

I suspect that this is an issue we aren't going to agree on, even though we're basically saying the same thing.  I'm looking at it weight,  you're looking at volume.  If you're going to say that muscle weighs more than fat, you have to say that a certain volume of muscle weighs more than an equal volume of fat, otherwise a pound is a pound.

Now, thank you for this........."if he says something again, maybe you can tell him you are doing it for him as well as for yourself?"  I get so frustrated with him, that's one I hadn't thought of.  

I know a lot of women have trouble with menopause and surgical menopause seems to be the toughest.  I guess I was lucky (?) there; I had a complete hysterectomy at the age of 46 and because of complications, I dropped down to 75 pounds (not just "yuck", but double "yuck"....lol).  That was in 1996 and it took me about a year to get back to a normal weight of about 100-110 lbs, which I maintained until 2007 when my thyroid whacked........ things went downhill from there.  I picked up 30 lbs in < 3 months and my doctor simply told me to "stop eating and move more"....... thanks doc!!  It took another whole year before I could convince them to check my thyroid and by then, I was nearly a basket case.

Over the past 5 years, I'm pretty sure I lost and gained the same 5 lbs at least monthly, until the past few  months.  I began to gain again and no amount of starvation or exercise seemed to take it off.  At my doctor appointment in Feb, I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome on top of the thyroid issue........

I retain a lot of fluid, so I never know what my weight "really" is, which makes it that much more frustrating.
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875426_tn?1325532016
Has the doctor ever suggested going on a diuretic?  Have you been able to visit/considered visiting a dietician to work with you on addressing this new challenge of pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome?  It's got to be hard to have both that and thyroid issues!
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649848_tn?1357751184
I'm on a diuretic; actually doubled my dosage a couple months ago, because the original prescribed dosage wouldn't phase the swelling.  Doubling the dose does help some, with the addition of a couple of cups of dandelion tea/day.

I am currently in a program administered by my doctor's office, intended to get weight, blood sugar, metabolism issues under control.  Having been in it for approximately 6 weeks, it hasn't done much to change anything, but I realized very few things happen overnight.
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875426_tn?1325532016
Have they diagnosed the source of your fluid retention?  (ie kidney problem, CHF, venous stasis, etc)?  

Yes, it's so often the case that positive changes in health take time.
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649848_tn?1357751184
No, they haven't determined a cause for the fluid retention.  Blood tests all come back normal, I've had echo cardiogram/complete heart work up, venous U/S, etc.  Everything comes back good.

We did think it might have been caused by a blood pressure medication (Benazepril) I'd been taking for many years, so we cut that med in 1/2, and the swelling went down some, so we cut it completely out; the swelling went away, but it came back after about a week.  I think that med did have something to do with it, but was not the only cause.

I track all my food, in hopes of finding a pattern or a food that might cause it, but so far, I haven't been able to pin point it; of course, high salt intake will cause it, but I get the swelling even when I don't have high salt intake.
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1850383_tn?1366379680
I love to walk! Living in Southern California, fortunately the weather is usually perfect to do so! I push my son in his stroller and walk with a friend or two.  We try to walk at least 6 miles a day :)
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875426_tn?1325532016
Wow, that's great!
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1301482_tn?1325726591
I love going to the gym and doing the Spin class that have along with the Body Pump class (Weight lifting) :)
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649848_tn?1357751184
Good for you, taking your son in the stroller is getting him used to being out in the fresh air, as well...... Keep up the good work.

Bai_Leigh - going to the gym is good; keep up the good work.
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