Most people who have been active, in sports or any kind of physical activity, in their youth, gradually settle down to a progressively sedentary life, as they age. This can be attributed to several factors such as marriage, a better paying job that leaves them with no time, family preassures, and so on. And the fallout? The body becomes brittle and stiff as a piece of dry wood. This group of people would also include those, who used to vigorously workout, and then abruptly quit.
By the time they reach their 30s, most people in this group are way past their ideal weight. In fact they are either grossly overweight or borderline obese. A small percentage of then end up officially obese too. All the extra weight is usually on the upper body, i.e. the waist and the buttocks area. Due to lack of regular activity, the weight in these areas, keeps increasing and the lower body gets progressively weak.
Muscles start to degenerate and the knees become weak. The muscles around the thighs and hamstrings (back of thigh) get very weak and start losing their ability to support the whole body. In fact, here’s a quick test.
1. Stand up straight, feet about shoulder width apart.
2. Try to do just one full repitition of sitting down squat and standing up.
Do you hear a clicking sound in your knees? If you do, then you have reason to worry! You are TOP HEAVY!
Most people who fall into this category have a lot of difficulty in most activities that involve the lower body. Such as climbing stairs, Brisk Walking, etc. Some of them are unable to pickup activities such as jogging or running because they can easily get affected by ‘Runner’s Knee’ (Read More). It is a very painful situation, where you end up hurting your knee joints, while trying to run on hard surfaces and after that, any/all activities that require free knee movement, become extremel painful.
If you are TOP heavy then the below suggestions may be helpful:
(Of course, as always, Please DO Consult a doctor before following any advice, for your own good!).
- Your first priority is to try and reduce your upper body weight. You can try doing some crunches and stretches. The first couple of weeks will definitely be painful, due to your bad physical shape. But That is part of the cure.
- Once you feel reasonably agile, start working on your legs. This usually becomes the most neglected body part, when a sedentary lifestyle kicks in.
- Do lunges (If you don’t know what lunges are, Click Here) at least 3 days a week.
- Spot Marching in bursts of 2 minute stretches. Stick to 2 sets for the first couple of weeks before increasing. When you regain leg strength, you will know 🙂
- Hamstring Stretches. (Click here for some good excercises)
- Check out my 2 minute workout.
- After building up some strength in the legs, the next logical step would be to incorporate brisk walking, and eventually graduating to jogging or running. Here’s a great link on how to begin running by Leo Babuata (of Zen Habits).
- Last but not the least: Watch what you eat. In the field of computer science, they have an acronym (GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out). Make sure it doesn’t apply to your body. ‘Nuff Said.
Follow these tips and you are one your way, from being “TOP HEAVY” to “TOP OF THE WORLD!”
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