When you first look at being active you may feel a little daunted about what you have to do. My philosophy is always based on making movement enjoyable, simple and easy to follow, this means it will be more likely to be effective and achievable so you can sustain your efforts!
However, I am the first to acknowledge that life can be busy and throw us different challenges whether its in our family, professional or social life. I would encourage you not to use these busy times as excuses not to get moving, the fact is I'd far rather you did something than put off your intentions waiting for the "perfect time" to start when everything is in place. In my experience the "perfect time" to start rarely comes and you can start to feel despondent and disheartened as well as disillusioned during the wait - which ends up with no movement happening at all! While I am committed to the fact that walking should be the foundation of your activity as its so easy to fit with your life, and I know first hand the body success you can achieve through walking (see our SUCCESS STORIES
) it can be a good idea to try a variety of different movement activities to see what you enjoy most. You can explore and enjoy different ways of moving whether its from one of my exercise DVD's, a swim, a play in the park with your children to a game of tennis or mountain bike ride with friends. Activity where you set aside time to physically be active, putting on your exercise kit I call 'Structured Exercise'. There are a number of activities you can do for your structured exercise: for weight loss purposes your structured exercise sessions should essentially be more cardiovascular based but you may want to compliment with other exercises such as resistance and flexibility as well.
HOW HARD DO I HAVE TO WORK?
There are a number of ways you can monitor how hard you are working. In your accumulated physical activity how hard you work is less relevant as the aim is just to try to get you to move more, more often. However as you get fitter and learn how to walk at your optimum pace you may find that you do start to move around in your daily tasks quicker. In your structured exercise however how hard you are working is important. It is in your structured exercise that you can build on your fitness and on the amount of energy you burn. The harder you work and the longer you are able to sustain that effort the more calories you will burn. Working at the right intensity is important both for your safety, enjoyment and effectiveness. Some monitoring methods are simpler than others, while some require tools, which may help keep you motivated. Whichever method you use is up to you, but I would strongly encourage you to use one, it strengthens how you understand how your body works and moves nurturing success and helping you feel good about the way you move. Exercising too hard will not be enjoyable, will increase your likelihood of not continuing your new healthy exercise approach and increase your risk of injury, while not exercising hard enough will not reap rewards. Remember Rome was not built in a day and the state of your health, stamina weight and body fat you will be in 10 months will not be determined by what you can do for the next 10 minutes or 10 days days but what you can keep doing for the next 10 weeks and next 10 months and 10 years!
Here are some tips to help you know whether you are exercising at the right intensity. Remember when starting to exercise, do not start out at too hard intensity – studies show that these individuals quickly drop out of exercise and do not maintain their new-found fitness.
When taking structured exercise make sure you can:
1. Hold a conversation with a friend.
This means that you should be able to have a breathy conversation with them – not be able to talk continuously. If you can, this means you are putting too much energy into your conversation with your friend and not with your exercise!
2. Increase your washing load!
At the end of your structured exercise session you should need to put your exercise kit in the washing machine.
3. Strip off!
After you have warmed up you should feel warm enough to take off a layer of clothing. Depending on the time of year this could be a sweatshirt, long sleeved T-shirt or track suit.
4. Could I do a little more?
At the end of your structured exercise session you should feel like you have exerted yourself. However you should feel refreshed and although you have been physically active you could do a little bit more if you really had to. You should not feel like you have to finish on all fours on your hands and knees or feel queasy. If you do, you have worked too hard. Decrease the intensity at which you exercise next time.
There are a number of activities you can do for your structured exercise. For health stamina and weight loss purposes your structured exercise sessions should essentially be more cardiovascular based but you may want to compliment with other exercises such as resistance and flexibility as well.
RESISTANCE AND FLEXIBILITY EXERCISES
There are a variety of resistance exercises you may wish to try on your weight loss journey. Since this form of exercise may require less physical effort they can in some respects be a useful entry point into more structured exercise sessions. Remember the bottom line is to expend as much energy as possible so while resistance exercise may in the long term enhance muscle tone and maintain your lean muscle tissue and the ability for you to keep your metabolism revved up , cardiovascular type exercise needs to be the foundation of your structured exercise sessions, and that’s why we love walking so much as your foundation of your movement as when you do it well – you can really change your body shape, weight and health, whatever your age, size or shape!
You'll find a selection of different movement methods including resistance and toning techniques using body lengthening and toning Pilates and yoga techniques in my books and DVD's.