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Being underweight could be the result of a plethora of factors like hyperthyroidism, eating disorders, malnutrition, digestive disorders, absorption problems, high metabolic rate, etc. Being underweight can have an adverse impact on your health low immune response, lack of energy and stamina, nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis and weak bones and menstrual dysfunction in women, loss of sleep, irritability. Underweight people are at as much risk of health problems as overweight people.
Diet and the right exercises play an important role in any fitness plan whether it is weight loss or weight gain. Gaining weight is actually not an impossible or difficult task. But, doing so with junk food, fried and sugary foods is not the answer. Also read - diet plan to gain weight.
Follow these tips to gain weight
Try to increase your calorie intake by about 300-500 calories per day by adding calorie-dense foods like whole grains, nuts, dry fruits, fruits, beans, starchy foods like yam, potato, sweet potato and banana.
Focus on good quality foods rather than eating junk foods. Foods like burgers, chips, processed and fried foods are unhealthy leading to various health problems. Instead, opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, soy milk, hummus, etc.
Make sure you eat more than three meals in a day. Have mid morning, afternoon and evening snack to eat more throughout the day.
Hydrate adequately with water and opt for high-calorie beverages like fruit juices, smoothies, healthy shakes, fruit yoghurt, etc.
Set attainable goals. Patience pays as weight gain is a slow process. The speed and the rate at which a person gains weight depends on factors like one s health, genetics, hunger pattern and it is advisable to get support from a doctor or a nutritionist who can guide and motivate you with a good diet.
Strength training will help you build muscle mass which in turn will help fill out your figure. For proper weight gain your exercises should involve all the muscles of your body.
Exercises for weight gain
Squats: This exercise works primarily on your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a heavy dumbbell in both hands. Lower your body into a squat by first moving your hip back and then bending from the knees but keeping the knees behind toes. Push through the heels and butt to stand and repeat for 10-16 reps. Repeat for 2 sets
Lunges: Keep your upper body straight. Take a large step forward with your right leg, lower your hips with your right quad parallel to the floor. Make sure your knee is in line with the toes. Come back to the start position and repeat with your left leg. Do 2 sets with 15 reps.
Standing calf raises: Stand on the floor (or with your heels hanging off a bench or step). You may hold onto a wall for balance. Lift up onto your toes by raising your heel as high as you can, squeezing the calves. Lower and repeat for 15 reps. Perform 3 sets.
Calf stretch: lean on the wall with both hands firmly placed assume a lunge position and maintain the heel of the back foot firmly on the floor and stretch further without lifting the heel of the back foot. Switch legs.
Other exercises you can do include biceps curl, push-ups, hamstring stretch. This can be followed up with a few rounds of yoga asanas like bhujangasana, setubandhasana, dhanurasana and naukasana. All these are excellent for focusing on the core fitness. Lastly, relax with shavasana and do 10 minutes of pranayam.
These exercises must be done under expert supervision and guidance. Do them thrice a week or as suggested by your trainer. Warm up well at the beginning of any workout with light activity and stretches and relax and cool down at the end of the exercise session.
Image source: Shutterstock
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