Your programme is not about calorie-counting, but this example will give you a sense of how effective even a little exercise can be:
walking one mile in fifteen minutes burns around 45 – 70 calories; gardening for ten minutes, around 40 – 65 calories; ten minutes walking up stairs around 175 – 230 calories.
Here’s how to incorporate activity into your day the easy way…
Taking a first step towards building exercise into our day can be as easy as doing more of, or doing a little more energetically, what we are already doing. Walk the dog a little more briskly, walk an extra bus stop, walk or run up stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator, dig a little harder in the vegetable patch, ditch the car whenever you can cycle or walk the trip instead, have a swim, play with the kids in the park or backyard, rediscover your inner child and rough-and-tumble with the little ones, and dust and polish with gusto! Use whatever fits most easily into your regular routine.
Building it in to build up the benefits
This is where you need to look at how your day is structured and the various calls there are already on your precious time. Regular and moderate exercise is the aim, building up long-term to ideally sixty minutes on most days – it does not have to be every day.
Who has an hour to spare, you cry. No one. That’s why capitalising on those areas already fixed in your daily routine is the way to tackle it – you don’t need a spare hour.
Break down the sixty minutes into three twenty-minute slots (or however it works best for you) and most days you’ll be able to do it. For example, the extra bus stop might be ten minutes at each end of the day, the dog-walk is surely 20 minutes and between stairs, children, washing the car, whatever you do there’s the other 20. You get the idea…
Raise the rate and lift your heart
Moderate aerobic exercise means just enough to raise your heart rate and breathing rate. It puts no strain on joints, and incorporating an hour’s aerobic activity into the day is a great way to burn body fat.
Aerobic exercise can also make us feel good about ourselves; calmer, more relaxed, mentally more alert – literally energised. Physically it improves muscle tone and flexibility, it helps enormously towards getting a good night’s sleep, and burning fat – instead of high-energy sugar – controls our appetite so you’re a lot less likely to overeat.
As for the long list of preventable diseases associated with being overweight, exercise lowers the risk factors right from the start and exponentially: from cardiovascular disease and cancers to type 2 diabetes. It may even reduce the risk of dementia.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan