By Waller Jamison
When you ask the question “what is exercise and its relationship to weight loss”, you probably expect the answer to involve complicated fitness programmes and trips to the gym. However, exercise consists of any form of physical activity and you can become surprisingly fit by doing everyday things like housework and walking.
As you know, weight is lost when the number of calories taken into the body in the form of food and drink is less than the number expended. Your body burns a certain amount of calories just to keep going, that is, performing basic functions such as breathing, circulating your blood and digesting your food. Anything on top of that could be considered exercise. However, you aren’t going to lose weight if you eat a lot more than you need and the only exercise you get is moving from the couch to the kitchen, even if you do a little housework along the way.
So, what you really need to know, is the way in which you can increase physical activity, which suits you best and enables you to increase your fitness levels and achieve your weight loss goals.
If you aren’t in the habit of taking regular exercise, you should start gradually. Go and have a check up with your doctor to make sure that you understand your current fitness levels. This is particularly important if you are very overweight or have a medical condition. Your doctor will need to monitor your progress and this will also give you some real results which will motivate you to continue.
The next step is to look at your daily routine and decide where you can increase your activity levels. Start with small steps – they add up and will get you started easily. If you work or go out to do shopping, take your kids to school or after-school activities, how to you get there? Chances are you either travel by car or use public transport. How about walking instead? And if you can’t walk all the way, walk part of it and get the bus for the rest. If it’s impossible to do this because it’s too far, you travel by car and there is no alternative, you need to find some ways in which to get yourself walking. If you have to use the car, you must live in a fairly remote area and this means you should have some countryside around you, and that’s a good place to start walking. If not, you should make a point of driving somewhere where you can walk. Do that once or twice a week and you’ll find it’s a good way to refresh your mind as well as your body.
Another alternative is to exercise at home, but this doesn’t mean you have to invest in a home gym. Do you enjoy dancing? Put on your favourite CD or music DVD and dance for half an hour or even 10 minutes, if that’s all the time you can afford. If you have a family you can get your kids involved too.
Another possibility is to buy an exercise DVD or borrow one from a library. You may want to check out a few before deciding which is best for you. There is a huge range of options, for example exercises based on pilates, kickboxing, dance or yoga. So go to the bookshop and browse – you’ll find plenty of information on different types of exercise, with recommendations for your age and fitness level. So do some background research before making a choice.
One important factor is to avoid boredom. So be sure to vary your routine. As you become fitter and more confident you may decide to join a class or take up a sport. There is so much to choose from out there that you are sure to find something you enjoy. If you don’t have much time, it’s even possible to exercise at your desk So, no more excuses –get moving right away!
© Waller Jamison 2007
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