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01 Mar 2004

Orbitrek Exercise Bicycle

I am a 48 year-old woman, weigh 55kgs and am in good health. I have been on HRT (Femigel) for the past 5 odd years. I bought the above at the beginning of February 2004 and at present am doing a minimum of 4kms at +- 22kph in about 10 minutes and burning approximately 100 calories. I do this every weekday (i.e. 20kms per week) and will obviously try and build it up. My question is: What figures should I be aiming for per day? I am doing the above to keep physically fit, as well as to lose a bit of excess weight around my tummy and hip area. I used to weigh about 46 - 49kgs before going through menopause. Thanks for your advice!
Answer 6,718 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Fifi

It's really hard to give you a quantity of training that you should be doing, because it depends on so much else. If you can build up the way you are trying to, and if you reach about 30 minutes per day on 5 days a week, then that will be a great routine. THe recommendation is to accumulate about 30 minutes of exercise daily, and so what you are doing now helps, and if you can increase, it will help even more.

In terms of the counting how many calories you lose, I'm not so sure about the relevance of effectiveness of counting calories. I know there is some logic behind it, and it can't hurt to be aware of what you are eating and using during the day, but to try to count specifics is so hard, and time consuming and you are almost guaranteed to over or underestimate somewhere.

If you think about it, someone who remains at a stable weight over a period of just 10 years, is probably eating an average of 8 or 9 million calories during this period. In order to remain at the same weight, the body is somehow balancing this amount by using about 8 or 9 million calories too! So, it’s staggering that the body is able to do this as efficiently as this, and for this reason, being very particular about counting calories all the time is probably a lost cause. It’s also the reason why sudden crash diets, where you cut right back on eating and live on lettuce every day, for example, will not work. The body simply adjusts its metabolism and so you use fewer calories. This also promotes weight gain when you do eventually start eating again.

So, rather than taking drastic steps, you have to realize that slow and steady progress is the key. It is a useful idea to become educated about what you are putting into your body, and then to be sure that it’s not excessive. The general recommendation is that for a sedentary, inactive person, you should aim for about 29 calories per kilogram (A 70 kg person, for example, would need about 2000 Cal per day). If you check out your diet, and read up how much you are putting in, and it’s around 2500 or even 3000, then you will never lose weight (or you would have to exercise like a demon, which is probably not an option). It’s also not a good idea to be consuming way under 2000 Cal per day, because this will cause the body to slow its metabolism down, as I mentioned earlier.

So, the key is to cut down on those calories very slightly (and this is simple enough to do if you take practical steps – slightly smaller portions, less variety, eat foods like apples and citrus fruits that are high in fibre etc.), and to increase your energy expenditure by means of exercise. Just 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week is enough to increase your overall energy expenditure by a large amount. For example, 30 minutes of walking burns about 300 Cal, and the effects last longer than just the actual exercise time. Therefore, if you are inactive now, and you suddenly start exercise by walking 30 minutes, you will be using 300 Cal more than you were previously. At the most simple, this means that if you diet stays the same, you will lose weight.

I hope that this has helped a little – I have tried to just give you a general idea. For a specific diet and eating plan, a dietician is far more qualified than I am to advise you, and I would suggest getting in contact with one to discuss this.

Good luck
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