Q: I am 36 years old. My height is 5 feet 2-inches and weight is 68kg. I am really overweight and want to shed some kilos as the weight hinders my daily activities. Please guide! Farzeen
A: Dear Farzeen, 46-62kg is a healthy weight range for you. What you need to do is to reduce about 22kg maximum but you can reach the upper limit by reducing 6kg only. Your BMI is 27.36kg/m/m that suggests you’re overweight. An active lifestyle is the key to keep you fit and fine, and within a healthy weight range. You can also check your body composition to set more appropriate targets for yourself. The trick to staying active is to find something you enjoy doing. You may have a friend to exercise with or you may follow an exercise regimen that suits you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the gym or walking around the track. You may choose to dance to an aerobics DVD in private or go for a quiet bike ride. Your goal for physical activity should be 30 minutes each day; but remember to start out slow. In the beginning, you can go for sessions of 10 minutes each while gradually increasing the intensity/duration/frequency over time. Always talk to your physician before starting an exercise program and get your fitness test done with a physical therapist. You don’t just need aerobic exercise. Resistance training or weightlifting is also important. This type of exercise helps in strengthening bones and improving balance and coordination. This reduces your risk for osteoporosis. It also helps prevent injuries or falls. Stretching after a workout should always be a part of your routine. Stretching improves flexibility and range of motion. It may also cut your risk of injury or muscle cramps. Finally, stretching improves circulation throughout the body. Along with enhancing your activity level, you should also watch your eating habits. A healthy breakfast needn't take any longer to prepare – top your morning toast with a scrambled egg, a slice of smoked salmon or some lean meat; at times, go for omelette or frittata. Remember breakfast makes an important contribution towards your daily intake and it plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight, so never skip it. For your mid-morning/evening snacks, swap your biscuits for oatcakes spread with peanut or almond nut butter and a banana, or have a tasty dip with veggie sticks. Or you may satisfy that sweet craving and the need for energy with fruits. A handful of dried fruits combined with unsalted nuts or seeds, provides protein and healthy fats to keep you satisfied till the next meal. For lunch/dinner, go for a mix of lean protein and starchy carbohydrates. The key is to choose carbs that produce steady rise in blood sugar, which means avoiding the sugary 'white' foods and choosing high fibre whole-grains which help you manage those afternoon munchies. Opt for an open rye bread sandwich topped with salmon, chicken or low-fat dairy as well as plenty of salad or go for whole-grain toast topped with baked beans.
Q: My weight is 57kg and height is exactly 5 feet. I have a lot of fat accumulated on my hips and tummy and I want to target these two areas, specifically. Please suggest relevant exercises. Muzna
A: Dear Muzna, if you would have mentioned your age I could have mentioned the healthy weight range suitable for you and a proper exercise regime that could help you in meeting your targets. However, now I can suggest certain steps that you need to take to stay fit. Firstly, you should have an appointment with your physical therapist or a suitable gym instructor to conduct your body composition test and physical fitness test. The result of these tests and measurements will guide you about your fitness goals, and especially the amount of fat that you need to reduce. Secondly, you should keep in mind that target training is not healthy, and any exercise regimen targeting certain areas whilst neglecting others should never be followed. All the cardio workout activities like dancing, aerobics, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling etc not only help to condition your cardiovascular system, but they also help in burning excess fat deposits. On the other hand, resistance training helps in improving strength and endurance of muscles. Stretching prevents muscle aches and soreness. Never forget that balance in your exercise program is fundamental for your health and safety. More important is to set your exercise targets. Thirdly, balance is also required in what you eat and how you eat. Always take a balanced diet to stay fit as it gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. In order to get proper nutrition from your diet, you should obtain most of your daily calories from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, dairy and lean protein. Lastly, you must have a proper sleep of seven to eight hours. Sleep helps you build muscles which you don’t develop in the gym. You grow while you recover. You also get energetic, leaner and stronger while you recover, so it stands to reason that you should set this as a priority. But recovery isn’t simply a matter of post-workout protein and waxy maize – it’s a matter of rest. Or, more specifically, sleep.
Q: I am 32 years old. My weight is 59kg and height is 5 feet 9-inches. I want to know if my weight is fine according to my height or do I need to work on it? Suleman
A: Dear Suleman, 57-77kg is a healthy weight range for you, and your BMI 19.17kg/m/m suggests that your body weight and height is normal. Although BMI does not actually measure the percentage of body fat, it is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on your height. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is the most widely used diagnostic indicator to identify a person's optimal weight depending on his height. However, it is not appropriate to use this as the only or final indication for diagnosis. I, therefore, strongly recommend you to get an appointment for a physical therapist and go for a body composition and fitness test. It may evaluate whether your body age is in accordance to that of your chronological age or if you require a work out to achieve it. Your physical fitness test will also tell you about your cardiovascular fitness i.e. your VO2 max, muscular strength and flexibility level. Your blood chemistries would describe your blood glucose and cholesterol levels. This way you can get a complete evaluation of your fitness parameters and you can easily set targets for yourself.