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Step 7

Get moving?

Choose the exercise that you enjoy. It’s good for the body and mind.

People can’t be happy or healthy without adequate exercise. We’re not talking about turning into an exercise fanatic here. We’re talking about getting some mild exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times per week that makes you breathe faster and flushes your cheeks. That’s all you need to achieve a health benefit. If you want to lose weight you’re probably going to have to go for 5 times per week, but also start very slowly. During the first two weeks you should give your body time to adjust to your new workout regime and not overdo it. If you do you will quit before the two weeks are over.

Let’s look at 7 good reasons to exercise:

– Exercise makes you feel more energised. It releases feel-good hormones in your body to help you combat depression.
– Exercise lowers your risk of chronic diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.
– Exercise can help you lose weight. The more energy you expend, the more weight you will lose.
– Exercise can help you have a better night’s sleep.
– Exercise can put the spark back in your sex life.
– Exercise can be fun…eventually.

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  • An exercise mat – you can use any rug or mat
  • A swiss ball – there are many exercises without the ball and the balls aren’t hugely expensive
  • Dumbells – you can use cans of tinned food or bottles of wine (make sure the weights aren’t too heavy for you)
  • A skipping rope – very inexpensive
  • An elastic band – also very inexpensive
  • Many people think that cardiovascular training is sufficient for losing weight. This is not true. Weight resistance training is of vital importance. Although you can decide to do only cardio on a specific day, your exercise regime should always include weight resistance training.

A typical training session would consist of:

Warm-up
Cardio
Weight resistance
Stretching

Warm up

A warm-up period of 10 minutes of low to medium intensity is of vital importance and should never be skipped.  This raises the heart rate gradually and warms the muscles up to prevent injury.

Examples of warm-up at home:

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  • Walk on the spot for 10 minutes whilst watching your favourite soapy
  • Take your dog for a 10 to 15 minute walk – he’s been pleading for it anyway
  • Skip rope for a few minutes (who can survive skipping for longer than that anyway) and combine it with stepping up and down a step for a few minutes
  • Sit down and stand up from a chair for a few minutes
  • Ride your bike (real or stationary) for 10 minutes
  • Walk fast on one place in the pool for 10 minutes
  • Walk fast on a treadmill for 10 minutes
  • Walk slowly up and down a few steps for 10 minutes
  • Rake leaves and mow the lawn

As you can see, the opportunities for warming up for exercise are limitless.  All you need is a little bit of imagination.  Who knows, it could even be fun.

Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is exercise where you work out at an intensity that significantly increases your heart rate and breathing tempo.

In order to burn the most fat during cardio training there is a target heart rate that you should exercise at.  You should exercise at 65%-75% of your maximum heart rate.  Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.  If you can do intervals during your training, in other words take your heart rate even higher for a few minutes and then bring it down to a lower level again, you can  increase your chances of losing weight faster.

Examples of cardio training are:

  • 30-40 minutes on the treadmill
  • 30-40 minute power walking
  • 30-40 minutes walking on the spot fast
  • 30-40 minutes of running
  • 30-40 minutes of cycling
  • 30-40 minutes of swimming

Stretching

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Stretching is very important as it helps your muscles to cool down and prevents the over-production of lactic acid in the muscles.  It also increases flexibility and lessens the chance of injury.  It should never be skipped.

There are a few golden rules when it comes to stretching:

  • Don’t bounce into a stretch
  • A stretch should be uncomfortable but never painful
  • Ease into a stretch slowly
  • Breathe while stretching
  • Relax into the stretch
  • Do two repetitions of 30 seconds of each stretch
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