The benefits of exercise are numerous; losing weight is just one of them. Exercise also gives us strength, confidence, health, energy, happiness, endorphins, a community and more.
A useful tool for committing to an exercising plan is there are no excuses not to exercise, write down how you feel after you have worked out and find out what exercise works for you. We all need to be challenged in order to grow; otherwise we just stay the same. Being part of a group you are much more likely to commit to an exercise programme.
If you want to lose weight aim for about 200 minutes per week of moderate to intensive exercise (Moderate to intensive is where we need to get our heart rates up and we need to be sweating). That could be 3 or 4 non consecutive days of cardio of an hour each or opt for 6 days at 30 minutes per session. It has to work for you or you can’t maintain it. How often have you started doing too much and can’t maintain it?
Beginners will train less than the regular fitness buffs. Starting too much exercise too early can result in injury. Our muscles and bodies need to build up gradually.
Step out of your comfort zone. Your body become used to doing the same activity or intensity so we need to mix it up. When we first start exercising we notice the biggest gain. After when our body become used to it, it has to work less hard and therefore we see less results. So vary exercise, intensity, distance. Say you are a runner do some sprints in your routine or run some hills. If you are a swimmer challenge yourself to do x amount of laps within a certain time.
While exercise is great for health and weight loss, the three pillars are exercise, nutrition and sleep.
There is no point in exercising without following a proper nutrition plan. I suggest keeping a food diary. It’s important not to overeat after a training session. Our appetites may increase from the increase in exercise so choose a diet high in vegetables and healthy grains and low in sugar and bad fats. Overtraining can also cause a hormonal imbalance which can result in weight gain. Make sure you take rest days if you are doing intensive training.
There are 2 training options for an exercise plan of 200 minutes per week. This depends on your activity, your time available and your commitment. Either way you need to aim for 200 minutes per week. All that said we need to move as much as possible every day.
Deirdre Cunningham runs Smart Nutrition and Lifestyle. Follow her on Facebook @TheSmartNutritionClinic or call (086) 8278073.
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