Expert Q&A

Beginner advice: How much exercise is enough?

I’m very overweight and my doctor insists I exercise. How do I know how much to do?

Start by asking your doctor for some type of plan or suggestions.  If you still feel lost, go for a short walk and record how much time it takes.  Do a few push-ups against the wall, some abdominal crunches and a few squats.  Write down how many you can do before getting so tired you can’t continue.  In a month, repeat the same test.  You should be walking a little longer, able to do just a few more push-ups, crunches and squats. 

As a general rule, if you feel too out of breath to talk, you’re working too hard aerobically.  When you’re strength training, you should be able to do at least 2 sets of 12 repetitions of whatever exercise you’re attempting.  If you begin to feel nauseated, lightheaded or weak go easier next time.  If your muscles start to burn or you get really sore the next day, it’s a sign you did far too much your first time.  Do a little less until your body gets accustomed to your new fitness routine.

Michele Silence, MA
Contributing Expert

Have a question for our Experts? Send it in!