During summer 2020, we’re asking you to choose to change something about the way you live, in order to help your weight and health in the long run.

Last week, we brought you diet advice from our brilliant Dietitian, Lesley. She spoke about how changing your diet is one change you can make in order to improve your life.

Lesley also mentioned the importance of getting balance right in your life between diet and movement, to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Here at The Slimming Clinic, we speak to thousands of patients who haven’t done any physical activity since their school days and now they have gained weight, they are even less likely to try doing it.

But in truth, exercise and activity are really important on a weight loss journey. But if you’re worried you’re going to be jumping around, sweating profusely and completely out of puff, you couldn’t be more wrong!

Choosing to exercise could be as simple a moving more in a day. We spoke to our Movement Coach, Phil Calvert, who told us more about how movement and exercise can be a very simple, but effective way to help your weight loss journey.

 

Phil, we often talk about movement and exercise at The Slimming Clinic, but what do those terms mean?

The terminology of the word movement versus the word exercise is held on the connotation of understanding the intensity of the activity that is practised.

Let’s look at movement to begin with.  Movement is defined as – ‘the act or process of moving especially change of place or position or posture.’

Movement is what we do as human beings every minute of every day! We are designed to move all the time, even when we sleep, we move! However, in our everyday life our movement has subsided and we now, as a society, move less than ever before.

This is down to things such as our jobs, home life and general lifestyle factors. But we know that movement burns calories. Every movement you make requires energy and therefore, burns fuel and calories.

So, movement is generally the process of going from A to B and is not an intentional act of burning calories. This can be anything from walking to the kitchen, up the stairs at home or stretching.

When it comes to exercise, this is defined as – ‘an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.’ The difference between movement and exercise is the purpose and intention.

When it comes to whether you move more, or exercise, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach. The important thing to remember if you’re just starting out, is to simply move more!

 

So, we’ve decided we want to move more to help our weight loss journey, what do we do next and how much should we be moving or exercising?

We need to look at evidence of how much movement we need to do from a scientific basis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulate that regular exercise could contain 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

Some examples of moderate and high intensity activities are:

Moderate (150 minutes per week) High (75 minutes per week)
brisk walking jogging or running
riding a bike walking up the stairs
dancing skipping rope
pushing a lawn mower aerobics
hiking HIIT

If you’re thinking about incorporating movement into your healthy lifestyle and you’ve not done it for a while, my best advice would be to lace up your comfiest trainers and go out for a walk!

If 150 minutes a week seems scary, you can break your 150 minutes down into segments and simply go for a 30-minute, brisk walk, 5 times a week!

Or if you want to challenge yourself, why not try 5 sessions of 15 minutes of intense activity?

The great thing about movement and exercise is the choice of what you do is all yours! It is always best that you choose the activity, as you know what you might enjoy better than anyone else!

 

A lot of us haven’t exercised for years and we find the thought of exercise and getting sweaty really intimidating. How can we get over that fear?

Let’s be honest – the thought of anything that makes you sweaty, or hot, or not as beautiful as you were when you started is always going to put somebody off!

But please don’t look at exercise or movement in a negative way! Remember, every time you move or do vigorous activity, it is having incredible benefits to your body. You don’t need to run as fast as Mo Farah or Usain Bolt and you don’t even need to buy Lycra in order for exercise to benefit your health!

As I tell all the patients I speak to, the best place to start is by putting one foot in front of the other and just getting out and about. You will be amazed at how much your body will love you for going out, getting fresh air and simply moving.

When you are able, and you will know when, you can perhaps start to run small distances and as you gain confidence and fitness, you can look to extend the length of your runs and before you know it,   you’ll be running further and further!

When selecting new activities to try, make sure to increase your movement at a pace that is not going to make the experience negative. I.e. doing something that becomes so uncomfortable that you will not do it again! Find the movement or exercise that you know you will enjoy – and stick with it!

 

Now we are moving more, what benefits should I see to my health?

There are so many immediate benefits to increasing your movement and activity levels. 

Your body is full of systems that need to work in symmetry for you to be fit and healthy and movement and activity ensure that all these systems work together! Movement helps to circulate blood and oxygen around the body as well as nutrients to your tissues and organs. Activity helps your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently and improves lung and heart health.

Movement also immediately helps your mental health, releasing happy endorphins that boost your moods and stimulate brain chemicals that make you feel happier, relaxed and less anxious.

Alongside being more relaxed, it promotes better, deeper sleep. Make sure you don’t do it too close to bedtime, however, as you might find yourself over-energised and hyperactive when you’re trying to sleep!

Remember, increasing movement doesn’t mean jumping straight into heavy exercise routines. Finding something you enjoy and gradually building up the frequency and intensity of that activity will set you on the right path to optimising your weight loss journey and reaching your goals.

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