A woman's clothing size can be a touchy subject, especially when you find yourself heading into sizes you never expected. Although a curvy body is nice, too much flab and jiggle can compromise your health and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Regular cardio exercise can help you lose the thunder thighs and jelly rolls, while strength training will help you get leaner and more toned. To lose the recommended safe rate of 2 pounds a week, you might want to consider reducing your daily caloric intake by 500 calories while eating a healthy diet.
Walking is an effective form of cardio exercise you can do alone, with friends, outside or indoors. Although it's recommended that you do at least 300 minutes per week of cardio to lose weight, you can start wherever level you're at and slowly work your way up. Even three, 10-minute walks each day can help you drop extra pounds. As your body adjusts to your walks and you find them becoming easier, start increasing the amount of time you spend walking. Get your muscles more involved by walking up and down hills or stairs during portions of your workout. You can also incorporate 30-second spurts of fast walking or jogging to blast fat and boost your calorie-burn.
Exercising in the water is a great way to burn calories, tone your muscles and avoid stressing your joints. If, at this point, walking or jogging is too painful for your knees or hips, you can get your cardio workout in the water. Don't worry, swimming doesn't have to be your thing to shed fat with water workouts. In fact, you don't even have to get your hair wet. Fast walking or light jogging back and forth or around the pool helps you lose weight, while the resistance of the water builds muscle. If you enjoy swimming, this is also an effective total-body conditioning and calorie-burning exercise.
Pedal Away the Pounds
Biking can help you burn around 500 calories per hour to lose 1 pound per week. It's also an effective way to reduce stress and squeeze some social time into your busy schedule. If sitting on a bike feels uncomfortable, there are bikes with larger seats to provide greater comfort as you exercise. Lower back issues don't need to keep you from pedaling away the pounds either -- you can get an excellent fat-burning cardio workout while riding a recumbent bike, which takes pressure off your lower back. As with any other type of cardio, push yourself to ride longer or farther as your workout gets easier.
When you build muscle mass, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories. Two to three strength training sessions per week will help you tone your muscles to reveal a leaner, stronger-looking body as the fat melts away. Aim for eight to 12 reps of each exercise, but don't sacrifice form for quantity. If you can only do one really good squat, then stop there and add on as you're able. Include squats, walking lunges, wall pushups, and dumbbell exercises such as bicep curls and chest presses for a total-body resistance training workout.
- Harvard School of Publich Health: Many Paths to Successful Weight Loss
- University of Utah: Promote Health through Diet and Exercise
- Fitness Magazine: The Fat-Burning Walking Workout Plan
- MedicineNet.com: Fitness Basics--Swimming is for Everyone
- Bike Radar: How to Lose Weight Cycling
- American Counil on Exercise: Total Body Workout
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.