Getting into sports for healthy weight

Fun from sports - even if you are overweight

Enjoying sports does not always come naturally. The fun starts once you have achieved the first (often small) sporting success. Even if you are carrying a few extra pounds compared to thinner people, there are many types of sport which are suitable for you. It is important to overcome the initial inhibition and support the gradual progress with a balanced, low-calorie diet.

Sports when you're overweight – how to make it easier

It's always difficult to start – especially if you are carrying a few too many pounds around your hips. You may experience some extra discomfort when you increase your activity level. You may also be worried that you do not have the athletic ability to participate in exercise programs. You may need to overcome your fear of being teased because of your weight. Try exercising with friends or family to gain confidence.

Exercise is much easier and gentler on the joints if the "workout equipment" helps to carry your weight. It may be a good idea to participate in activities that are non-weight bearing such as bike riding or swimming.

Health check before exercise

Before starting your personal exercise programme, you should visit your doctor for a health check. This is particularly important if you are overweight, have never done any exercise, have not exercised for a long time, or are older than 35. Your doctor will be able to tell you how much strain you will be able to put on your back and joints and whether certain types of sport should be avoided for health reasons. Remember it is important to start and to continue, it does not matter that it is at a slow pace.

Choosing a sport

Choose a sport which most closely corresponds to your own preferences within the scope of your doctor's recommendations. It is also helpful to check your current movement and fitness levels.

Beginners' sports which are particularly suitable therefore include: Cycling, aqua-gymnastics, swimming, in-line skating, riding and rowing (e.g. at a fitness studio). More advanced exercisers can also try hiking, Nordic walking or light aerobic exercise. Fitness studios often offer special training plans for weight loss.

Water - essential for athletes

Drink more water- that is the key when exercising. For instance, during one hour of in-line skating, the body loses around two litres of fluid. Once you have lost more than a litre of fluid, your endurance performance can deteriorate, and if you lose any more, your concentration and coordination levels will also start to fall. Before training, ensure you are hydrated. Drink around half a litre of water around 20 to 40 minutes before you begin. The rule of thumb when training is: drink water every quarter of an hour if you are training for longer than an hour. Another positive side effect: Water fills the stomach and makes your hunger pangs disappear. Sport will therefore have double the weight-loss effects.

Keep in mind that it may take you several months to increase the exercise duration.Your body will not improve its activity level immediately and you need to be careful that the increase in duration and intensity is gradual. Never do more than feels comfortable to you. Doing too much too soon can result in fatigue and injury and may also discourage you from continuing the exercise plan.