Fitness & Exercise
By Juliet Jackson
It never ceases to surprise me how little people understand about the basic principles of weight loss through exercise. Everyone seems so focused on the objective of losing weight fast and easy that all logic appears to fly out of the window.
Let’s get one thing clear - how much exercise you need to make a difference in your weight depends on how much you eat and what activity you are doing.
A medium-sized adult would have to walk more than 30 miles to burn up 3,500 calories, the equivalent of one pound of fat.
Although that may seem like a lot, you don't have to walk the 30 miles all at once. Walking a mile a day for 30 days will achieve the same result, as long as you don't eat more than usual.
If you eat 100 calories a day more than your body needs, you will gain approximately 10 pounds in a year. You could lose the weight or keep it off by doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
Despite what you see in adverts, or on QVC, it is a combination of the correct mindset, exercise and diet that proves to be the best way to control your weight. I want you to think about this concept, because it is fundamental to what I, and other professionals, work into the routine of our clients.
Aerobic exercise is exercise in which you are continuously moving a large muscle group (such as in your arms, legs and hips) for a period of time. Your heart rate gets faster and your breathing becomes deeper and faster.
All adults should get 2 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise spread out over a week, but should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you have not been active, start slowly and build up over weeks or even months. Walking can be good exercise to start with.
Every week increase the time you spend with the activity, do it more often or add a second activity. You can increase the speed of your activity or the difficulty of the activity, such as going up hills.
All adults should do exercises to strengthen the muscles at least two days a week. These activities can include push-ups, situps, using resistance bands, or lifting weights. Make sure to do exercises that work on all the parts of your body.
If you are doing a regular programme of strength training (weight lifting), your muscles will get bigger.
In this sense it is possible that your overall weight will increase, because muscle weighs more than the equivalent volume of fat. However, your clothes will probably fit better and your body will be more toned. Your body composition is a better indicator of your overall health than the number on the weighing scale.
If proper technique is followed, most people of any age can safely lift weights. It is important, however, to check with your doctor before you start to train with weights.
Experienced personal trainers like myself will provide you with guidance prior to any weight lifting program. This can help prevent injuries and the loss of muscle strength and endurance that occurs with bed rest and inactivity.
Also, look for simple activities (e.g. house activities) that improve strength or endurance which you can do regularly, such as gardening, walking up and down the stairs, a brisk walk to the shops and back.