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I live a sedentary life. 12 hours+ on the computer, as its my job and I am a gamer.

Lately I have been fed up with this lifestyle and have decided to make gradual changes to a healthier state.

I consider myself to have a varied diet of foods and vegetables are never missing from my meals, so food is not an issue.

Seeing how its getting warmer outside and I have some place to jogg (also considering freeletics but I have no support for this) but I have health concerns regarding my heart.

Seeing how I am out of shape and overweight, I fear the stress on my heart might cause problems, either instant or long term wear and tear.

Had a physical and doctor said it would be fine, but the paranoia is strong in me.

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4  
Do it, you're fine. –  Dave Liepmann Mar 7 at 23:03
    
High-Intensity Interval Training. Look into it. –  w00t Mar 9 at 19:25
    
Look up couch to 5K it's a good way to ease yourself into cardio. There are apps and podcasts that can help you with the intervals. –  Omar Kooheji Mar 10 at 16:10

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You've had a physical, gotten the green light and made the determination to get healthier. The next thing to do is just..well, get out there and start doing it. This doesn't mean that you have to go out tomorrow and jog 4 miles.

Start small and work your way up. Tonight, go for a 1/2 mile walk. Do it again tomorrow. And again the next day. Keep going, gradually increasing your distance. Go for a swim. Go for a bike ride. Try a martial arts class. Yoga. Yeah, you might be sore, and you might feel miserable a few times, but trust me, we've all been there. It goes away.

Do a whole bunch of stuff, and figure out what really motivates you. Many people hate jogging. Others can't swim. Whatever. Just find an activity where you enjoy what you are doing and who you are doing it with. Just like gaming takes a long time to get good at it, you aren't going to jump out of bed tomorrow and be able to run a marathon.

Eat healthy, don't follow any of the "fad" or named diets (i.e. Paleo, north beach, grapefruit), work your way up to 30 minutes (or more) of vigorous activity a day, and let the mirror and a once a day weighing be your guide.

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curious, does the word fad carry a negative connotation in this context indicating that the subsequently mentioned diets are not worth doing and don't really have great results? –  Christopher Bruce Mar 8 at 23:06
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@ChristopherBruce - In a sense, yes. Almost all of these diets initially have great results, the problem is that that are not really sustainable for long term, i.e. year in year out. –  JohnP Mar 9 at 1:54
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@johnp I think you'll find that there are many people sustaining very well on paleo. I'm on my third year of maintaining weight, improved health and energy, while greatly enjoying the foods I eat. Granted, I think South Beach and grapefruit warrant the label "fad" too ;-) –  w00t Mar 9 at 19:18
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@w00t - Check back again in 10 years :) –  JohnP Mar 12 at 14:36
    
@johnp I will :-) –  w00t Mar 12 at 14:37

My advice is that controlling one's diet trumps any level of physical exercise you can do, unless you are already physically fit. That is to say, for inactive to moderately active individuals, one's diet has much more influence on health than how much one exercises.

Of course, this is not a rationale to avoid exercise. Quite the contrary: it is essential to be physically active. But in my experience, one of the most common pitfalls that people make when first starting out is that they go gangbusters on the exercise without scrutinizing their dietary/lifestyle habits. Then they suffer pain or injury, and they end up gaining more weight because of reduced mobility.

Initially, I would limit physical activity to walking. Whether on flat pavement, up hills, or up stairs, it's all good. Walking at a brisk pace for a sustained amount of time (60-90 minutes per day) is an excellent, safe way to improve cardiovascular health for beginners. It is easy to increase the difficulty level, and it increases muscular and skeletal strength in preparation for higher impact activities. But you have to be consistent to see results.

Your extra body weight, at this stage, is actually working in your favor. People who are already athletic often fail to realize that overweight people are constantly bearing that extra weight, which automatically increases the difficulty level. You don't see runners going for their 5k or 10k jog with 150 pounds of weight hoisted onto their shoulders, do you? Even an extra 50 pounds makes a huge difference.

But back to what really matters: diet. The biggest thing you can do is eliminate refined sugars. Nothing with high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose/cane sugar. Eat more fiber. You don't need to cut out fat or meat or complex carbohydrates, but do avoid things like soda (diet or otherwise) and fruit juice. Count your calories. If you ran 5 miles in 1 hour, you would maybe burn 600-900 calories. You could eat 2-3x that amount in a single meal, let alone drink that amount in soda. So you can see that exercise at this point is not going to be the primary controlling factor for weight loss.

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That's my experience too: I improved my diet (I started out low-carb Paleo and upgraded to Perfect Health Diet) and almost automatically moved more, /wanting/ to go out and do things... BTW, for fiber best to pick veggies - grain fiber doesn't digest well. –  w00t Mar 9 at 19:24
    
@w00t : I have no digestive issue with grain fiber. Is this based on your experience? Or do you have any source to back this up? –  Max Mar 13 at 2:26
    
@Max, a nice overview of why grains are not a good food source, with references: perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/… –  w00t Mar 13 at 5:19

There's little danger in performing cardio at any adult age as long as the safety standards are followed. Every exercise you perform has a proper way of it being executed; do it that way and you would not have any exercise-related injury.

Since the doctor already told you there's nothing wrong with you, you have no reason to fear. The paranoia in you is just the fat talking trash because it knows that once you start this journey, you are gonna turn into a lean, mean powerhouse.

Because you are young and healthy, I would not advise you to start with walking (that's for those with joint problems or old people). Start with light jogging to test the waters and see what you are capable of. If that's too much, reduce it to power-walking. If that's too much, you should get a coach since you are too lazy to do it by yourself

Once you've tested the waters and you're beginning to like it, start lifting weights; there are many programs online to help you. Add cardio to your routines as well. Alternating your exercise days between cardio and strength training has been shown to be most effective for weight loss (specifically fat burning) programs.

Equally, stay in touch with people who exercise; if you don't have any around you, you can join online communities; they'll be able to motivate you and hold you accountable.

Lastly, see the whole weight loss/exercising as a new experience, an adventure that you are interested in exploring. That'll keep the motivation up and the weight down.

Hope I stayed on course with the answer and it helps.

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The health benefits from being active are just too big to ignore; not only will you feel better, but you will age slower than those who are more sedentary.

I would recommend against jogging; it can be hard on the joints, especially for those with some extra weight, but more importantly, it's hard to do, and the harder the activity is, the more likely you are to stop doing it. Walking is simple to do, requires no equipment, and can be done anywhere. Cycling is also a good choice, though I'd recommend walking first.

I'd start with just doing that, and perhaps paying a bit more attention on your diet.

Over time, you'll be able to walk farther and faster. I'd keep this up for a month or so.

Once you are used to that, I'd look at some weight training; those who do cardio and weight training have considerably more success at losing weight than those who just do cardio. I don't know anything about freeletics, but a quick look suggests that it might be a reasonable next step.

Good luck.

Oh, one more thought. If you're a console gamer, some of the Kinect games on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One can be a nice way to get a little physical activity.

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Many people believe that food is not an issue while in fact for many people it is. I would suggest you have your body fat percentage measured.

If its in the 'overweight' range, keep your diet as it is, maybe cut down a bit on sugar rich foods and gradualy add more physical activity. If its above in the 'obese'or 'morbidly obese' range, and if you are confident you are eating moderately and healthy, than unlike what you may think, most definitely your diet, most likely your carb intake is still a major factor and exercise alone won't help you much.

In that case I would suggest going low-carb (to loose fat) and going for a strength first program (to gain lean body mass) instead.

In any case, first step is to find out what your starting position is, and once you know that pick the best road for you. And try to keep yourself from the number one mistake that people make when starting to work out: focus on body weight. Throw away your scale and get a measuring tape. If things go well your weight will probably go up a bit but your belly should be shrinking.

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