The latest data shows that Covid-19 hits those with a high BMI disproportionately hard. With lockdown measures easing, making it easier to go out to exercise, now’s the time to lose weight. The latest fitness wear in plus sizes can help you do it in style!
By Sarah Sellens
Have you found yourself sitting at home piling on pounds? You’re not alone. A study by Cambridge Weight Plan shows that up to 50 per cent of Brits have put on as much as a stone during lockdown, with increased alcohol, comfort eating, and a lack of exercise being cited as key factors for putting on extra kilos.
While many may jokingly refer to it as having a “lockdown body” it may not be a laughing matter, as experts warn that extra weight gain could put those already struggling with obesity at a higher risk of certain ailments. Indeed, if the scales reveal that you have a BMI of 30 or more, you may not only be at a greater risk of diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, but also more vulnerable to severe coronavirus infection.
‘While coronavirus can affect any of us, for people with pre-existing health conditions the virus seems to be more severe. This particularly appears to be the case for obese people [those with a BMI of 30 plus],’ explains Dr Michael Mosley, GP broadcaster and author.
‘The increased risk seems to be linked to heavier body weight and high blood pressure. Specifically, excess body weight is associated with breathing problems, which is likely to be made worse by coronavirus.’
Weight loss helps keep
With lockdown measures easing and the focus moving on to the nation’s health and wellbeing, you may feel suddenly inspired to get in shape – which means that you’re on the right track.
‘As the main risk factors for severe coronavirus infection (excess body weight and hypertension) can be improved by weight loss, it could have a real impact,’ adds Dr Mosley.
Overhauling your diet is the first step and many experts recommend intermittent fasting for speedy fat loss. ‘Short-term fasting can lead to several changes that make fat burning easier. This includes reduced insulin, increased growth hormone, enhanced epinephrine signalling and a small boost in metabolism,’ explains Dr Mosley, whose 12-week programme The Fast 800 (thefast800.com) outlines the method in detail.
Getting active is the next measure and there are plenty of low-kit activities you can do from a socially-acceptable distance, including walking, running, cycling and bodyweight training at home. ‘Focus on small goals,’ advises Rachael Penrose, personal trainer at F45 studios (F45training.com).
‘For example, aim to lose 1kg in the first week, 1kg the second week and so on. By doing this, you’ll work consistently towards your goal.’
Plus-size sportswear more readily available
Still struggling with motivation? Research shows that performance kit makes exercise more appealing and enjoyable – sports-specific clothing wicks away sweat, provides ample support, minimises chafing around the seams, and even keeps you cool in hot temperatures.
‘It’s not the driving factor for motivation but it is extremely hard not to be excited about a workout when you have new [and workout-appropriate] kit,’ agrees Penrose.
But if you’re a size 18 or more, activewear hasn’t always been readily available – until now. With a growing number of fitness brands launching plus-size ranges, here’s our pick of the latest apparel for fuller figures.
1 The Reebok PureMove+ Bra (£49.95) has a supportive waistband for secure coverage.
2 The Panache Sports Wired Bra (£42) is great for larger busts as it’s proven to reduce bounce by up to 83 per cent.
3 The Runderwear Easy-On Runderbra(£50) bra gives you extra support for sizes 28D-40H.
4 The Freya Sonic Coral Moulded Sports Bra (£40) has padded straps to provide extra comfort.5 The Empreinte Initiale Underwired Spacer Sports Bra (£92) Gives luxe coverage for up to a size 42F.
1 Reebok PureMove+ Tight (£74.95) are available up to a size 4XL
2 Lucy Locket Loves Activewear Leggings (£33) come with a high waistband for a secure fit.
3 Tala Zinnia Legging in Burgundy (£40) are made from sustainable fabric and come in sizes up to 20.
4 Love Leggings Focus 7/8 Yoga Leggings (£28). These have maximum flexibility with minimum transparency.
5 Domyos Cardio Training Leggings (£14.99) come with flat seams to prevent chafing.
Plus size Tops
1 Giesswein Svenja Merino Wool Jacket (£179). Temperature-regulating tops in up to a size 2XL
2 Domyos Cardio Training T-Shirt (£3.99). A flattering fit for less than a fiver!
3 Adidas X Universal Standard Long Top (£34.95; adidas.co.uk). Has an extra-long length for easy layering.
4 Nike Sportswear Essential Body suit (£26.95). Lust over this swimsuit-inspired top.
5 Keela Ladies Torres Top (£49.95; keela.co.uk). Warm and breathable on cooler days.