For anyone who is underweight, the health risk factors associated with it make weight gain help a must. Whether you've suffered from an illness, overdieting or just have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, there are diet and exercise tips that can help increase your success of gaining and maintaining adequate body weight.
Health Risks of Being Underweight
- Pregnancy-related problems: Being underweight can cause infertility (stopping menstration or causing dysfunctional ovulation), can make it difficult to carrying a full-term pregnancy and can reduce the chances of a safe delivery.
- Osteoporosis: Being underweight due to an inadequate diet can cause bone deficiencies, as the body will pull the nutrients and calcium that it needs from your bones if you don't provide it with proper nutrition.
- Anemia: Nutrient deficiencies from being underweight can lead to anemia (a condition that signals a lower than normal number of red blood cells in the body). Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains.
- Decrease in muscle strength: Proper body weight is needed to maintain healthy muscle tone and strength.
- Low immune system: A healthy immune system depends on adequate nutrients, healthy body system function and a healthy lifestyle to keep it fighting disease and illness.
Dietary Tips for Gaining and Maintaining Healthy Weight
To add healthy weight, it is important to create a nutrient-rich meal plan that provides you with a basic 2000 calorie diet. If you're gaining weight steadily, maintain that number. If you need to speed up weight gain, slowly increase the numbers until you achieve the desired results. You should be eating three full meals a day with 3 to 4 snacks built into your schedule. Ways to increase healthy nutrition include:
- Add healthy, unsaturated fats to your diet that provide essential fatty acids that can help build and maintain healthy body weight.
- Look for nutritious, high calorie snacks that give you the benefits of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants plus the added calories you need for weight gain.
- Increase lean proteins to the portions of fruits and vegetables that you eat at mealtime to build healthy muscle mass.
- Never skip meals or snacks; you need all of these calories every day.
Exercise Tips for Gaining and Maintaining Healthy Weight
Don't skip exercise when trying to rebuild a healthy weight. Exercise is an effective component in building a strong healthy body. Instead, incorporate the right kinds of exercise that will contribute to healthy weight.
- Add strength training exercises to your workout schedule to increase and tone muscle mass that weighs more than unhealthy fat.
- Calculate your target heart rate for cardio workouts and workout no higher than that rate. Over-stressing your heart makes your body anaerobic, burning lean muscle instead of fat.
- Skip days between weight training workouts to give your muscles adequate time to recover and build up after each session.
- Learn stress-reducing techniques like yoga and meditation to reduce stress that can zap a healthy appetite and inhibit your immune system.
Being underweight can be as serious a medical condition as being overweight. Seek the advice of your personal physician to find a healthy body weight for you and to create a plan to achieve it.