Letter from the Editor: Different paths to fitness and weight loss

2013-02-20T00:00:00Z Letter from the Editor: Different paths to fitness and weight lossKathleen Dorsey nwitimes.com
February 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I can tell you from experience – if you think roller skating is too easy to be considered a workout, think again.

In the beginning of the year, I wrote a story in the Times about Northwest Indiana’s first women’s roller derby league, the Region Rat Rollers. And following the story, I decided to join the team.

It was one of my crazier stunts I’ve undertaken in my entire life. I mean, me, roller skate? I have some pretty weak ankles and thighs, not to mention my nonexistent core muscles, which are a necessity if you want to stay upright on skates.

But as my mother told me, it’s something I will be able to tell my grandchildren about. So I decided I would go ahead and try out. Besides, if I didn’t, I knew I would have regretted it.

Tryouts were fairly simple, with stations set up for skills tests in all areas of skating. But by the time each station was finished – 15 minutes each – my legs were cramping up in new ways and I was out of breath and sweating. Not to mention the fact that the warm up, 5 minutes of skating around the track as fast as I could, was exhausting by itself – and I was one of the slowest ones out there.

My slowness and exhaustion notwithstanding, I must have impressed somebody somehow, because I got a bid to join as a recruit a few days later. Practices started a few days after that, focusing on off-skate training, since not many of the “fresh meat” group had skates to begin with.

In our first practice, I was delighted to find that I had pretty good stamina. I had joined a gym a month prior and had been running, swimming, lifting weights and using the elliptical machines at least three times a week ever since. After the first week at the gym, I thought I was done with sore muscles, especially when the exercises felt easy compared to running the “rolling hills” program on the treadmill.

Boy was I wrong. The training exercises we practiced were not as cardio-intense as my usual workout, but the next day I could barely squat down to tie my shoes.

But as my coaches and new teammates tell us, the trick is to keep at it, and don’t give up. I don’t know if I’m going to be a star at this, but it’s definitely good for fitness, and it’s lots of fun.

But for those who are a little nervous about getting hip-checked on the track, there’s a new option – Roller Derby Lite has come to Northwest Indiana, where you can get all the workout benefits of roller derby without the intensity of the sport. We talked to Julie Bonnema and Ellen Michelin, who run the program based in Schererville, to find out how their classes target whole body fitness.

For other weight loss solutions, some turn to weight loss medications, which can be helpful when prescribed by doctors to lose some extra pounds. In more extreme cases, doctors may recommend bariatric surgery, which we also investigated. Read our story on a survivor of bariatric surgery, and learn how this procedure changed his life for the better.

But exercise isn’t the last word in weight loss. We talked to a nutritionist who can advise you on how to best combine a sensible diet with fitness for healthy weight loss.

Read our pieces on fad diets to discover how not to lose weight. Many throughout the years have touted these unusual diets as miracle fat burners, but most doctors and nutritionists agree that the best way to lose weight is the healthy way – through sensible diet and exercise.

As we keep working on those New Year’s resolutions, let’s try to remember to keep our health in mind, first and foremost. So get out there, and get healthy!

Kathleen Dorsey

Managing Editor

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