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Exercise
It can be difficult to start exercising regularly, especially after a long period of inactivity. Your chances of success will increase by recognizing this fact, and planning to make your walks as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Wear the right clothing and footwear. Choose comfortable, lightweight, loose clothing that does not interfere with your breathing. Avoid materials like polyester and vinyl, which do not "breathe" and could prevent your body from cooling itself. Wear professionally fitted, good quality walking or running shoes. Injury or discomfort caused by inappropriate footwear will spoil an exercise program, no matter how motivated you are!

Choose a pleasant setting. Exercise does not mean having to suffer! If you are planning to walk, pick routes that you will enjoy. Attractive surroundings, the sounds of birds or water, the smells of flowers or cut grass can all improve your mood and help to make exercise a more positive experience.

Walk with a friend. Walking with a friend, or in a group, can make the activity more enjoyable. You can motivate and encourage each other and make sure that all involved are exercising safely.

Take it one step at a time. Don't focus exclusively on long term goals. If you get discouraged and stop exercising, you will never reach them! Your program is a process of achieving results in small, realistic steps. If you stick with it, you will be amazed at what you can achieve!

Learn to exercise safely. Learn to find your pulse and calculate your target heart rate (see the "Monitoring Exertion" sidebar at right). Remember to check your heart rate during and after exercise to make sure that you are receiving aerobic benefit while avoiding overexertion.

If you develop any of the following symptoms, discontinue your exercise session and discuss them with a physician:
Tightness or pain in the chest or surrounding areas
Severe breathlessness
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Loss of muscle control
Nausea
 
Walk Safety: Monitoring Exertion
Find your pulse. Press your index and middle fingers lightly on your neck, just below your jawbone. It does take some practice, so you may not be able to find your pulse right away. Another method: press your right index and middle fingers lightly on your left wrist, below your left thumb. If, after practicing, you are not able to reliably find your pulse using either method, get help from your doctor or local health club trainer.

Check your pulse rate. Once you've found your pulse, count the number of beats in ten seconds. Multiply by six to get your approximate heart rate in beats per minute.

Calculate your target heart rate. A quick estimate of your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Your target heart rate during exercise is between 0.6 and 0.8 times your estimated maximum heart rate. Note: If you are currently taking beta blockers or another medication that slows heart rate, consult your physician for advice regarding exercise monitoring and overexertion.

Another, less accurate but convenient, measure of intensity is the "talk test." If you are so winded that you cannot talk during your walk, you are probably exercising too hard.

Check your pulse during exercise. While walking, check your heart rate every 5 minutes until you are used to the rate. Later, you may only need to check it once or twice each walk. If your heart rate is above your target rate, slow down. If it is below your target rate, pick up the pace.

Check your pulse after exercise. Your heart rate should return to normal within 10 minutes after your walk. If it is still elevated, reduce the intensity of your next walk.

Check your breathing rate after exercise. If you are still short of breath 10 minutes after your walk, you were working too hard. Next time, take it easier.

Sources:
www.walkfromobesity.com
Living a Healthier Lifestyle after Gastric Bypass
 
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