Plan For Exercise

Welcome back to designing your personal weight loss plan!

In this session, we will create your personal plan for exercise.

The learning objectives for today are that you will be able to describe the concept of energy balance and you will set realistic goals for planned exercise, including frequency, duration and intensity of specific exercises. 

Prior to beginning any exercise program, including the activities depicted in this plan, individuals should seek medical evaluation and clearance to engage in activity.

Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury.

Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user.

Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained. 

The First Step Answer These Questions: 

  • Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition or that you should participate in physical activity only as recommended by a doctor?
  • Do you feel pain in your chest during physical activity?
  • In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not engaged in physical activity?
  • Do you lose your balance from dizziness? Do you ever lose consciousness?
  • Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity?
  • Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs for your blood pressure or a heart condition?
  • Do you know of any reason you should not participate in physical activity?

If you answered yes to one or more questions, if you are over 40 years of age and have recently been inactive, or if you are concerned about your health, consult a physician before taking a fitness test or substantially increasing your physical activity. 

Energy balance is a key concept for weight loss. Energy balance includes the calories taken in from food, protein, fat and carbohydrate, and the calories used through exercise, daily activity and resting metabolism. If calories taken in are equal to calories used, a person's weight should remain the same. But in order to lose weight we need to tip this balance to create negative energy balance. 

In designing your own weight loss plan we will do this in two ways. First of all, reducing the number of calories taken in and also increasing the number of calories used.

You probably already know that increased planned exercise is a great way to tip this calorie balance. While exercise will definitely help you lose weight, it's absolutely required to keep the weight off.

Do you recall hearing a news story recently about how people who lost weight on reality TV shows regained most of the weight when the show ended?

One of the reasons that was given was the inability to continue the exercise portion of the weight loss program.

In order to lose weight and keep it off you need to commit to a lifetime of planned exercise.

Yes, there will be sick days and vacation days and a few, I'm just too tired days, and that's okay.

But it's really important to make your mind up now that you will never let go of planned exercise. There are so many health benefits to regular, planned exercise.

Weight loss is the first that comes to mind.

But other benefits include improved sleep, improved mood, decreased risk of cancer and heart disease, and even an increased chance of living longer.

We will now start to build your plan for exercise using three key factors, the duration, the intensity, and the frequency of exercise. 

Let's start with the duration of planned exercise.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library, the amount of exercise needed to lose weight is between 150 and 420 minutes per week.

Unless of course, there are some kind of medical problems. So 150 minutes is the minimum number of minutes per week.

Less than that does not really result in any significant weight loss. The guidelines point out that there is a dose response between the number of minutes of exercise and the amount of weight loss. More minutes of exercise equal more weight loss. We will call the minutes of exercise the duration of exercise. 

This is an indication of how hard you are working.

Walking briskly at about three miles per hour or a little faster would be moderate intensity activity, but jogging or running would be considered vigorous intensity. Riding a bike at less than ten miles per hour would be moderate while biking faster than ten miles per hour would be vigorous.

If you have not done planned exercise in the past three months you should definitely choose moderate intensity exercise.

The same holds true if your physician has told you to limit you exercise to moderate intensity.

Some people aren't just able to perform vigorous intensity exercise and that's totally fine. You should listen to signals from your body.

Exercise should be enjoyable, never painful. 

There are several ways to objectively measure the intensity of exercise, including monitoring your pulse, using a heart rate monitor, and the Borg scale of perceived exertion. These are described in the supplemental documents that accompany this lesson.

We can't emphasize enough how important it is to get clearance from your primary care provider, your physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner before you start a planned exercise program.

So let's put all these parts together and pull them into your planned exercise program. First, you need to choose an activity or a combination of activities. This should be something you really enjoy doing. Remember you're committing to planned exercise for the rest of your life. 

Your personal exercise plan must also include the intensity of the exercise. 

A final example includes a combination of activities, if you like to, for example, bike and walk.

The activities are specified in the first bullet and then the frequency. Three days a week for biking, three days a week for walking as the frequency. The intensity might vary, so biking would be at a vigorous intensity. Walking would be at a moderate intensity, and it would be 40 minutes duration, for biking, 60 minutes duration for walking. These are just examples. Any combination of activities or single activities, all of them work. Again we want to add up the total minutes of exercise. So this is 120 minutes in this example at vigorous intensity and a 180 minutes at moderate intensity equaling 400 total minutes per week. 

We all know the biggest barrier to planned exercise is of course time. There are only so many hours in a day and for everybody I know, myself included, there are too many things to do within those hours.

You have to make planned exercise a priority and that actually requires you to get a little selfish. You may need to say no to other activities in order to implement your planned exercise program. Try to think creatively about how you can work your exercise into a day that's already full of other activities.

Think of it this way, you will probably never find the time to exercise, you need to take the time to exercise. For yourself, for your health, and for all the benefits that we talked about, most especially weight loss. 

Try this idea:

Plan to schedule the actual days and times for exercise on your weekly calendar just like you would any important appointment. This really works. Especially if you can schedule exercise in the morning. That way, you're more likely to get it done before other activities start to compete for your time.

Some really important safety reminders:

Always allow time to warm up and stretch.

Always allow time to cool down.

Drinking fluids before you start exercising and drinking additional water during exercise that lasts longer than 45 minutes is crucial.

It's really important to invest in a good pair of shoes.

And as long as your physician approves you can add weight training two days per week. But you would need to consult a personal trainer or other fitness professional for guidance in this area.

Weather conditions are really important if your exercise plan includes outdoor activities. So you want to set minimum and maximum temperatures at which you will not go outdoors to exercise if your selected activities are in fact outdoor exercises. 

 A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish!