Physical Activity

A swimmerRegular physical activity is an important part of a weight loss programme.

Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity taken most days, can benefit health, help to control weight and help to reduce the risks associated with weight gain eg heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Other health benefits include improved sleep patterns, reduced stress and more energised.

Even 10 minute 'bites' of activity daily to a total of 30 minutes has been shown to produce health benefits.


Here are some ideas:

Types of exercise:

Building physical activity into your daily routine

A man throwing a frisbeeAdding physical exercise into your daily routine need not mean going to the gym! Try these simple tips:

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Things to do at home

A man flying a kite

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Join a club

An excellent way to keep fit, active and make new friends eg. line dancing, yoga, ballroom dancing, walking group, aqua jogging, aerobics, tramping, tennis, badminton or golf.

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Non-weight bearing activities

Here are some examples of activities that are non-weight bearing:

Remember - start out slowly and gradually build up to 30 minutes per day. Enjoy your activity and have fun.

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People walking on the beachThe most fundamental type of aerobic exercise is walking and has become increasingly popular as a primary exercise for many people.

The most fundamental type of aerobic exercise is walking and has become increasingly popular as a primary exercise for many people.

If you're a sedentary person, start off slowly. Walk for 20 minutes every other day and build up gradually. Take a friend and use the talk test to determine the right pace for you. You should be able to comfortably hold a conversation with your walking partner. If you're too breathless, slow down.

Do get advice from your doctor if you have any medical problems that may be affected by embarking on a fitness programme.

Do make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

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Swimming and water exercises

A swimmerMost pool complexes have swimming classes and water exercise group classes. Water is great for taking all the stress off the joints if you are carrying excess weight, allowing free and easy movement of limbs.

Start with a very relaxed and easy session if you are training by yourself. If you are not used to swimming 10 minutes should be fine, and just do breaststroke, sidestroke or whatever you find easiest.

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Cycling is another good way to take the weight off the legs, but be careful to choose a comfortable bike. A road bike which makes you hunch over the handle bars may create back problems if you are not used to it.

Your knees should be just slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Ask someone in a reputable cycle shop about technique and safety tips.

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StretchingGyms or Fitness centres are a good alternative to walking, cycling or swimming. Gym programmes should be personalised to the individual. Therefore, before working out in the gym, seek out instructors with recognised qualifications. Most gyms require you to have one session with a trainer to set a programme and familiarise you with the gym.

You might find a personal circuit training good as it can be designed for your needs and you can go in and do it whenever you like.

Your own individual circuit should encourage you to:

  1. Work towards a 20-30 minute session plus a 5-6 minute warm up and stretches.
  2. Use a mixture of machines, free weights and floor exercises.
  3. Try light weights repeating the exercise as recommended by the gym instructor.

If you prefer, sit on a bike and pedal for 20-30 minutes. Exercise classes can really motivate some people but are often not designed for very inactive people.

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