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04 Sep 2011

from couch potato to fit?
Dear doc:
A friend refered me to your site, and I hope you can help me. Although I was very active and sporty in my younger days, I''ve turned into a terrible unfit blob. I''m a woman of 55, and since I''ve become a widow two years ago I''ve gained 20kg. Two weeks ago I realised that I have to straigthen myself out, exercise-wise, and I hope it''s not too late. Although I would obviously like to lose weight, what I''m much more worried about is my fitness level (zero, currently), and overall health, as I still have two young children, and would like to set an example to them, and would also like to stay alive as long as is humanly possible. A friend gave me a second-hand treadmill, and although it can''t go up and down (it''s at a permanent angle of about 20degrees uphill), it otherwise seems to work well. Where do I start? For how long and how fast must I start walking? (I definitely can''t see myself running soon, if ever). My circumstances are such that I can''t join a gym, and the treadmill - will therefore have to do. I recently walked a 5km Ladies Race in 45 minutes, and felt a bit tired for a couple of hours afterwards, but otherwise enjoyed it.
Answer 392 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Emrie

Well, good for you for thinking through the situation and arriving at the conclusion you have! I think it's the right way to do this!

In terms of what to do, i think a structured programme is the best bet to start with. I think you'll have enough initiative to learn from the programme, learn about yourself and start to make some changes.

So I'd look at a programme on the site, if you go to the fitness page (where you're reading this, probably), you'll see a link for "workout programmes" if you hover over that tab.

I think the walking programmes are a good first bet, specifically the advanced programme of 10 km in 11 weeks. But I can tell you that to walk 5km in 45 minutes puts you probably in week two or three of that programme at least, because you're not quite at zero if you can do that! So I'd start there.

I think that with summer on the way you should also look at moving your sessions out of the home and onto the roads or trails. With friends, for support and motivation, because indoor training is very tough, mentally. And with a treadmill at 20 degrees, you'll be limited as to the speed you can walk and run.

I have a feeling that if you get out, and you get yourself up to regular walks of 30 minutes, it'll be a matter of time before you start running and then running more. And if you find a goal, perhaps a 10km ladies run in December, you can do that!

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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