Is It Dangerous to Exercise When You're Underweight?

Exercising when underweight helps you build muscle mass and add weight.

Exercising when underweight helps you build muscle mass and add weight.

Although being lean can often be healthy, being underweight poses health risks such as reduced immunity, anemia, bone loss, delayed wound healing and amenorrhea. Many people who need to gain weight wrongly assume they shouldn't exercise. Exercising when you're underweight helps you build muscle mass, which increases your weight. However, if you're underweight as a result of a medical condition or health concern, see your doctor for an evaluation before exercising.

Aerobics

Although many people associate aerobic exercise with losing weight, it results in proper weight gain when done correctly. You need to increase your body's ability to burn more calories in a healthy way. Muscles contain enzymes that are stimulated by exercise to burn fat into calories and release them into your blood stream. Strength-training aerobics such as weightlifting or yoga help an underweight person to gain weight by building muscle. The more muscle you have, the more enzymes you have to burn calories and gain more weight. Take caution not to overdo your aerobic activity, as your goal is to gain weight in a healthy way.

Exercise Routine

Your exercise routine can be the difference between gaining weight safely and exposing yourself to danger. As you start working out, your muscles can only sustain nonstrenuous exercises like squats, bench presses, pullups, dead lifts and rows. Doing the same exercises repeatedly does not stimulate muscle growth. So make sure you’re doing some variation of all of the exercises at least once per week. Make sure you're lifting heavy enough to stimulate growth. If you don't need help lifting or setting the weight down, and you don't twist your body to get through the reps, you're lifting enough weight to stimulate healthy growth.

Calories

Diet and exercise go hand in hand for all weight issues. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should consume at least 500 more calories than you normally consume to gain 1 pound of body weight per week. To ensure the extra calories you consume don't turn into gained pounds of fat, perform strength-training exercises. The ACE urges you to stick to the recommended amount of dietary protein --15 percent to 20 percent of daily calories -- to gain muscle. More muscles increase the number of enzymes to convert fat to calories, which help you to gain weight without facing any health threats.

Precautions

You should not begin to exercise without energy in your body. This will lead to over-straining of your muscles, which isn't good for your health. Diet must come first before exercising. Remember your aim is to gain healthy weight. Exercises must start at a low intensity and gradually build up over time. If you can complete your routine workout without feeling tired, you can increase the difficulty of your workouts. However, doing a medical checkup before performing difficult exercises is the surest way to ensure you're medically safe to exercise.

 

About the Author

Veronica Sullivan is an award-winning fitness and nutrition writer. Sullivan has been writing professionally since 2006.She has written nutrition articles for "Self," "Fitness," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Health" and other magazines. She has worked as a nutrition specialist and dietitian since 2000, focusing on metabolic and hormonal balancing.

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