Fit for the Arctic? (newbie) - Weight Loss Support

Weight Loss Support

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Fit for the Arctic? (newbie)


I weighed exactly 16 stone on the day before I started this campaign and just before I confirmed a booking for a trip to the Arctic next year on a sailing schooner. I'm 66, have been working from home for more than 30 years at a desk. Very sedentary.

My aims for this trip (end of May 2019) are to be fit enough to descend and ascend a rope ladder from ship to dinghy, walk reasonable distances over various terrain, climb hills etc.

My first instinct was to become more active. I've done this by walking. Which I've found I enjoy and recently have been moved to run a little - just a couple of hundred metres at a time. And I am definitely feeling better for it. Also, I have lost, give or take, a stone doing this. Though it has plateau'd for the last 10 days.

One of the things I did at the start was to measure my "girth", which I think of as, in a horse, the largest circumference. Perhaps at the wrong time (evening, after a few drinks) but it was the same (52") as it was at the start.

Although I'm very pleased that I have really started to enjoy being more active, and I can feel that my leg muscles are responding, I would like some help with losing some of the middle-body bulk. More by exercise than diet...

8 Replies

Hi, Aniseed, Welcome...

If you want to get fit, losing weight would help, but the fitter you get the easier it will be to burn off fat and lose weight.

It tends to be cold in the Artic, so a little spare fat might be beneficial!

I would advise you to be careful about running, as, when any overweight adult runs, it can cause knee problems, particularly if you have had a desk job for thirty years.

My "Thought on reducing fat" might help you lose fat:

Aniseed in reply to S11m

Hmmm... sorry but that's no help at all. Sentence 1 confirms what I have said, and that's what I hope will continue to happen

Sentence 2, well yes, ha-ha, a bit of blubber...

Sentence 3 ignores what I said, which is that I "felt moved to run" for short distances... in other words, it felt good to just change to running for a few minutes. I am quite familiar with my knees and what they do and don't like...

But thank you for the welcome, S11m, and sorry to be negative

S11m in reply to Aniseed

Hi, Aniseed

In the context of my reply to your post, thank you for taking the time to reply. I am sorry if you thought I was wasting your time confirming what you said, but I was not only agreeing with you, but also saying that exercise would help weight reduction.

In the context of this (weight loss) forum, exercise is not highly-rated... the wisdom is that only 90% of weight loss is through diet... but, having been an endurance athlete, I know that, for me, that was not the case. ...and the administrators and event hosts encourage us to make supportive, encouraging and sympathetic replies, even if we are not experts on the topic. (Having been a professional Technical Author for years, I like to be informative.) I note that two members "liked my reply".

I think that there are thousands of ex-runners in the UK who had damaged their knees and had to give up.

Even walking can cause injury - I had a "March Fracture" (metatarsal) from step-aerobics, but it was common in infantrymen, hence the name.

Modern footwear is better at absorbing shock.

I hope that you do not prove me right by suffering knee or foot injury!


Rope-climbing is more about technique than strength. Have a look on Youtube.

For general fitness and strength, I'd do bodyweight exercises (pull-ups, leg raises, pushups and the like) if you're not a gym member. If you have access to a treadmill work on running, not walking, and do interval training for the fastest results. If you can't do a 9-minute mile or better, you're probably not fit enough.

As for losing weight around your middle, look into low-carb high-fat diets. I suggest you get used to this way of eating in any case, because it's enormously popular among outdoor types (reason being, it's a very effective way of maintaining stamina on a small volume of food).

This is likely to be a lot more challenging than you expect, and you need to be prepared for things going wrong: in all probability they won't, but you need to be fit enough to survive in the worst case. Having said that, if you put the effort in, you should be able to make dramatic improvements by May. Come back and let us know how it goes - sounds like it should be an interesting trip!

Have a look at the couch to 5k forum and programme. It will get you running 30 minutes by the end of 9 weeks. It is terrific!

My daughter has recently lost several stone from cycling combined with a healthy diet. Swimming too will burn calories and tone up muscles. My particular activity of late has been working outside, either weeding our jungle of a garden, or poo picking in our horse’s field! Good luck with your fitness program so you can make the most of your exciting trip.

Thanks for advice, all! 9-minute mile is a challenge to aim for (l live opposite a Rec with just about exactly a 1-mile perimeter...). Also, our allotment needs manure and I know a place not far away with a mountain of the stuff waiting to be dug out. So good encouragement, and I'll take a look at that forum, h-wheels!

Thank you all for comments. I think I'm lucky enough to have been able to reduce my weight by nearly 2 stone simply by changing my lifestyle and walking most days. Not by any means the 10,000 steps everyday, but with that in mind. And I have taken notice of the warning about running, but sometimes it just feels good, SM11m. And, oddly enough, Ivan the T, I have the feeling that a low-carb, high-fat diet suits me - with the increased level of exercise. I will get that checked out with my doctor, but it feels right. Still terribly overweight, but it feels good to be stronger...

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