Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Weight Loss Mystery

Q: I'm 32 and just started jogging for weight loss and to become fit. I've been running for six weeks now and haven't lost any weight. Is jogging at a slower pace as beneficial as at a faster pace? At how fast a pace should I run?

Is it better to run the first half of your distance at a faster rate, then slow down quite a bit to finish the last half of your distance? How far should one jog each day for fitness and weight control?

Saskatchewan, Canada

A: Congratulations on starting your exercise program! Even though you haven't lost any weight, after running for six weeks you are in better shape than you were before.

Your experience is very common. Running develops muscle tissue, which weighs more than fat tissue. You may be decreasing your percentage of body fat and increasing your muscle mass (strength) and not lose a pound!

This can be very frustrating for someone who begins an exercise program to lose weight, and then feels like all that effort is wasted when it doesn't happen. However, you are making substantial changes in your body that may not be reflected on the scale. Your clothes may be noticeably looser in your waist area as you firm muscles, thus losing inches, not pounds.

While you are increasing your strength, you are also lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure while strengthening your heart muscle. A stronger heart pumps blood more efficiently and is able to do more work with less effort.

Regular exercise reduces your chances of developing heart disease. Another major benefit of weight-bearing exercise for women is increased bone mass, which decreases your chances of developing osteoporosis.

Exercise gives the body an opportunity to use up some of the stress hormones that may build up when you are tense, angry, or anxious. This helps us relax more.

Better yet, for people who are exercising for weight control, it also increases the basal metabolic rate, so you burn more calories when at rest than you did before. You will soon find that even if your body weight does not drop, you will feel slimmer and trimmer. This effect may take several months to become apparent, especially if your metabolic rate is slowed by chronic dieting.

As a beginner, the length of time you exercise is more important than the distance you run. To continue to improve your condition you need to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes a day, four times a week, maintaining your heartrate at 60 percent of maximum (the formula for determining your maximum heartrate is 220 minus your age).

Jogging at a comfortable pace (i.e., 60 percent of maximum heartrate) still gives you all the benefits of exercise. A comfortable pace is one in which you are able to carry on a conversation. Working harder will increase your speed and performance, but will also increase your chance of injury.

It is much better to finish strong than to go out fast and end up having to drag yourself back. We've all heard the story about the tortoise and the hare. Make sure you warm up adequately, and save some extra effort for the end of your workout. Don't burn yourself out early in the run.

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
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The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

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