4 Tips for a more effective workout

workout tips

Regular physical activity is crucial to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Dirk recommends daily exercise to burn calories and strengthen your muscles and heart.

There are as many different fitness routines as there are gym-goers. How do you know how to get the most out of your workout? Here are some tips to make your workouts as effective as possible.

Build up to more intense workouts

If the goal of your workouts is to shed pounds, build muscle strength and boost cardiovascular endurance, aim to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Short, high-intensity workouts can deliver the same or better results than longer, less intense workouts.

Interval training is a great way to implement high-intensity workouts. Instead of slowly performing an exercise, then taking a 5 to 10-minute break to chit-chat or check social media, alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises for 20 or 30 minutes.

Research shows that high-intensity interval workouts are vastly more effective at cutting fat and decreasing weight than steady state cardio. 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training leads to more weight loss than 40 minutes of steady-intensity exercise.

Focus on form

Before you ramp up the intensity, though, make sure you have great form. When exercising, you may feel motivated to add on the weights or go harder and faster.

But exercise form is the foundation of your workouts. Without good form, you won’t get the full benefits of an exercise, and worse, you’ll risk injuring yourself.

In general, align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Always be in control of your weights — don’t swing or jerk them around. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled relaxing movements.

Perform exercises that pack a greater punch

Certain exercises are more effective than others. Why spend time and effort on less effective workouts when you can get more bang for your buck with others?

Some of these great all-around exercises include swimming, tai chi, strength training and walking.

Swimming takes the strain off your joints while delivering a strong calorie-burning, toning and cardiovascular health boosting workout. Tai chi focuses on physical movement coupled with mental focus and helps reduce stress.

Strength training is less about bulking up than it is about keeping your muscles in good working form. Plus, strength training allows helps you better manage your weight, since the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn.

Finally, walking is a simple, free and beneficial for everything from keeping your cholesterol low, strengthening your bones, maintaining a good blood pressure, keeping you in high spirits and lowering your risk for several diseases.

Listen to music

Research shows that listening to music while exercising actually has a range of positive benefits, enabling a more effective workout.

Listening to music can distract you from fatigue, elevate your mood, increase your endurance and may even promote metabolic efficiency.

Regular physical activity is part of healthy living. There are no shortcuts, but you can implement these effective ways to exercise to get the most out of your time and effort.


The Health Benefits of Walking

health benefits of walkingFrom limited free time to sore joints, it’s easy to find yourself discouraged when it comes to daily exercise. The good news? There are plenty of low-impact options that don’t require an expensive gym membership. In fact, one of the best ways to kick-start weight loss and fight associated diseases like depression and diabetes is one of the simplest: walking.

What Can Walking Do For Me?

The real question is what can’t walking do. From heart health to lower blood pressure and regulated blood sugar, walking is a great way to benefit all systems of the body. A brisk walk taken daily (or even just a few times a week) is shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, as well as breast and colon cancer.

Walking is an easy, cost-free investment in your overall health. Not only does walking extend your lifespan by keeping chronic diseases at bay, but it also improves your quality of life: walking is a great way to trim your waist (and tone those calves, if you throw in a few hills) so you’ll feel strong and confident. The daily dose of Vitamin D that you’ll get from walking outdoors—as well as the rush of feel-good endorphins—is shown to be an effective antidepressant.

Walking and Weight Loss

Complicated workout plans are notoriously difficult to stick with. Walking at a moderate pace, however, is often enjoyable for most people, which means that it’s easy to incorporate into a daily routine. Whether you’re walking solo or with a group (don’t forget your favorite pet!), 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week provides the aerobic exercise you need to help maintain your goal weight. Walking is especially beneficial for patients recovering from bariatric surgery, since it’s a low-impact, self-directed activity that lets you go at your own pace.

Getting Into a Routine

When you’re walking for fitness, you’ll get maximum benefits if you pay a little extra attention to your posture. Engage your core by standing up tall and looking straight ahead, and minimize impact by walking smoothly, rolling from heel to toe. Pumping your arms just slightly will keep those muscles toned, while choosing a few hills is great, low-impact form of strength training. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to work your way up to the recommended 30-60 minutes a day, five days a week. Just remember that, no matter where you start, the most important thing is that you do start.

Dr. Dirk’s weight-loss patients are often advised to embrace walking as an enjoyable way to keep weight off post-surgery. Whether you’re looking for lakeside trails or you march right through the center of town, incorporate the things you love into your daily walks to ensure that you stick with your regimen.


Exercises for Obesity to Jump-Start Your Fitness Routine

exercises for obesity

The go-to mantra of weight loss is to eat healthy and exercise. But what if you physically can’t? For people who are obese, standard recommendations for working out just don’t cut it.

Trying to work out when you’re obese is tough. It already takes a lot of motivation and courage just to get off the couch and walk into the gym, but once you’ve made it that far, then what?

Here are some exercises for obesity to try that won’t break your spirit—or your back.

Walking

This low-impact cardio is often the easiest way to start exercising, whether at a gym or around the block. If you’re looking for more motivation on your daily stroll, try a pedometer. Turning exercise into a game can be great for your health.

Swimming or water aerobics

Swimming offers another opportunity for low-impact cardio. It’s easy on joints but also considered one of the most calorie-burning workouts out there. Being consistent with aquatic workouts can ease you onto the path to losing the weight.

Personal training

If your trying to avoid the various bariatric surgeries, you might try a personal trainer. This is the best option for someone who might have gotten off the couch but still feels intimidated when it comes to working out in public. A personal trainer, whether live in a studio or online, will offer workouts that work for your body type and level of ability.

Strength training

Strength and resistance training can be a good way to jump-start your fitness. Start on the machines that cause the least impact to your joints and then move up from there as you develop more muscle. Free weights and resistance bands are also effective for working your muscles.

Being active in other parts of your life

The more active you are outside of the gym, the easier it will be once you’re in it. This includes things such as housework, gardening, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the door and other small daily tasks that add up to a lot more activity during the course of a day or week.

If you’ve tried to get into exercise but find your weight won’t allow it, it may be time to get in touch with Dr. Dirk.


5 Benefits of Exercise (that have nothing to do with weight loss)

5 benefits of exercise

While weight loss is the reason most people start working out, many stick with the habit long after they’ve met their goal weight. Of course, exercise is helpful for maintaining that healthy weight, but there are many other benefits of exercise than just watching the number on the scale drop.

Here of the top five reasons to work out that have nothing to do with weight loss.

1. Exercise wards off the common cold.

Since we’re entering cold and flu season, this is one benefit of exercise that shouldn’t be ignored. Research has shown that moderate amounts of aerobic exercise can boost the body’s natural defenses against viruses and bacteria. In fact, a recent study showed that people who worked out for 40 minutes four days a week were 25-50 percent less likely to catch a cold.

2. A good workout improves your mood.

You probably already know about endorphins, the feel-good hormones you feel after a good workout. But did you know that working out helps your mood at all times, not just immediately after exercise? One study even found that brisk walking can be as effective as prescription antidepressants for those suffering from mild to moderate depression.

3. Regular exercise promotes better sleep.

Being active regularly helps your body fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Just be sure not to exercise right before bedtime — you’ll be extra-energized instead of ready to hit the hay.

4. Exercise can increase your self-confidence. 

The confidence that comes from losing weight is something Dr. Dirk hears about time and time again from his satisfied patients. But even before people reach the major milestones of losing 50 or 100 pounds, they can still gain a sense of accomplishment from smaller milestones, like working out five days in a row or running a mile without stopping for the first time. Creating workout plans and sticking with them gives you lots of achievable goals to meet, even before you start shedding pounds.

5. Working out can improve your memory, creativity and more.

By increasing blood flow to the brain, exercise also promotes brain health. Many people report feeling more creative and thinking more clearly after a workout, and Scientific American agrees that the effects of a workout can help the brain by boosting memory and even reversing hippocampal shrinkage.

So the next time you’re thinking of skipping a workout, remember that it’s not just the calorie burn you’ll be missing out on. For more information on your weight loss surgery options, contact us today.

 


Fitness Friday: Speed Up Your Workouts and Save Time

Fitness Friday

The most popular excuses for skipping a workout seem to be “I’m too busy” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” The school year is starting soon, and time will soon come at an even higher premium for parents.

But when it comes to your health, it’s essential to make the time to move every day. If you’ve been eyeing the scale, there’s no better time than now to make a lifestyle change.

“The best way to lose weight and stay healthy is to practice good nutrition and daily aerobic exercise for one hour every day,” Dr. Dirk advises.

Here are some ways to speed up your workout so you can get back to your life.

Try something new. If you’re at the gym and need a cardio machine that’s being used, try a different machine rather than waiting around. Using a new machine will still ensure you’ll get your aerobic exercise in, but it may also challenge new muscle groups — a win-win!

Plan ahead. Make a plan and know exactly what exercises you’ll be doing before you start your workout. Visualizing which machines or weights you’ll need is a great way to save time between exercises.

Keep your head down. Don’t make small talk with other gym-goers. While it can be fun to make to make new friends, if you’re in a hurry and health is your goal, keep your headphones in and your mind and body focused on the workout.

Build your playlist first. When you don’t have to scroll through songs, you’ll wind up shaving minutes off your workout time. Plus, setting up your playlist can get you more excited about your future workout!

Don’t check your phone. Pausing to respond to text messages or check tomorrow’s weather can add up and prolong your workout. Try turning off your phone or turning it on airplane mode before you hit the gym.

No matter what, be sure to get that aerobic exercise in every day. It’s the only way to curb diabetes, obesity and all of the other health problems that come with being overweight. If you’re getting your hour in every day and not seeing the results you need, it may be time to get started with Dr. Dirk.


The Most Common Weight Loss Mistakes, Explained

When it comes to weight loss, you’ve likely heard your fair share of conflicting advice. From fad diets to the latest superfood craze, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Unfortunately, many of these gimmicks are empty promises at best, while other marketing ploys truly can sabotage a weight-loss plan.

Here are a few of the most common pitfalls that to avoid when it comes to shedding those unhealthy pounds.

Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Obsessing over the scale.

It’s easy to get hung up looking for a measurable change in weight when you’re eager for results. “The one mistake I see my patients make is that they live on the scale,” Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk says. “If the scale doesn’t move 10 pounds in one day, it’s like it’s the end of the world.”

There are often healthier and more significant ways to plot your progress, like energy levels or muscle tone. Dr. Dirk’s advice? “I recommend that patients get on a scale no more than once a month.”

Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Eating “diet” foods.

Many “health” foods are marketed as such, but reading the fine print reveals a different story. Veggie chips may sound much healthier than regular chips, but don’t be fooled: potatoes are sometimes classified as veggies, too. The same goes for fat-free dairy products such as ice cream, which typically contains more sugar (and sometimes more calories) to mask a lack of flavor. People tend to eat more of the foods labeled as healthy, which can seriously hinder a diet plan.

Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Cutting all carbs.

While Dr. Dirk advocates a low-carb diet for those looking to lose weight, “low-carb does not mean zero-carb,” he says. And some carbs are much worse offenders than others. Pastries and white bread? Those are worth giving up. However, many healthy starches like sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice are a necessary part of a balanced diet. How much is too much? “I tell my patients that for each gram of protein, they can have 1 gram of carbs,” Dr. Dirk advises.

Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Skipping snacks.

Wait a second… Snacking helps with weight-loss? Not exactly, but pretty close. Research shows, and experts agree, that small portions throughout the day are far more effective when it comes to losing weight than infrequent, larger meals. The reason? These manageable meals keep your metabolism working, while frequent bites will keep you from over-eating. Dr. Dirk recommends eating small, measured portions of high-protein, low-carb food, six to eight times throughout the day.

Common Weight Loss Mistakes

Exercise issues.

Often, even those with the best intentions who have implemented a daily workout as part of their weight-loss routine will find their efforts thwarted. The reason? Taking your daily activity level from zero to 100 in a brief period of time often leads to injury. As a result, patients often aren’t able to return to their workout for months. “Start slow,” Dr. Dirk cautions.

While there’s a lot of conflicting advice about weight loss, there’s also a great deal known about successful approaches. Seeking professional advice from a doctor or bariatric surgeon is a sure-fire way to fuel your success.