We know that exercise is good for us. It has a crucial part of play in weight management, for both physiological and psychological reasons. Here are a few thoughts which I hope will inspire you to make exercise part of your regular routine, whatever form of movement you choose:
A lean body with more muscle mass will burn more calories
Exercise increases your metabolic rate - same result.
Exercise encourages the release of feel good hormones and will lift your spirits. It is proven to help depression and low mood.
Movement is a great distraction activity - add this to your list of things to do if you are feeling emotional driven to overeat (we've all been there!)
Exercise creates a greater awareness of your muscles and joints, encouraging you to treat your body with more respect. This can lead to a continuation of exercise and more self-care around your food intake.
You don't have to exercise for hours. there are lots of Personal Trainers who will tell you that 30 minutes intensive, weight bearing exercise is all you need. Claire Marsh of The Box gym in Portsmouth told me:
" Intensity over volume with sound functional movement mechanics is all you need.
Go for exercise that you enjoy which you can undertake regularly and consistently
throughout your week. It shouldn’t be a chore but rather something you look
forward to as being the best part of your day."
Group exercise is fun and can encourage confidence in both exercise and in self-care. A disordered pattern of eating can be a lonely (and secretive) existence and getting out there can be helpful in this aspect of our weight management.
As you improve your muscle tone you will start to love your body (even more!) and that's got to be good hasn't it?
But, before you go dashing off, I have one caveat about exercise in relation to weight loss. You have to exercise a huge amount to burn off a habit of overeating!! The other danger of linking exercise too closely to weight loss is that we can create an 'earning' or 'working off' mentality which is akin to dieting, where if we have worked hard in the gym we allow ourselves treats and more food (than we need) or if we have overeaten we feel under pressure to exercise to extremes to burn it off. Both are damaging in the long-run. So, my suggestion is that you do exercise with the aim of improving your health, and not for the purpose of weight loss. A stable, nutritionally sound eating pattern hand in hand with exercise are the perfect partnership.
Here are a few snippets of advice to help you get more movement into your life:
Choose an activity that you like - no point otherwise as you won't stick at it.
Choose an activity that you can have some success at. Don't make it too hard or unattainable, or you'll get the same failed result.
Exercise at a pace sufficient to make you sweat - this means that your heart is working and it will have an impact on your metabolism and fat burning.
Set a time of day which works: maybe factor it into early morning habits, or use it as a way to have a break at lunchtime (particularly if you're a bit of workaholic!) or perhaps do it while the supper cooks. Whatever fits with your lifestyle.
Know yourself - if you're a creature of habit then the point above will work for you, with a set routine which you do religiously and monitor progress. If you don't like routine then have some flexibility and a few different exercise options you can choose from depending on what you feel like; but you do still need to do it (wink emoji).
Find a friend - honestly there's nothing like making an arrangement for a walk or a swim with a friend to hold you accountable to actually doing it.
And a final note, don't forget that muscle weighs more than fat - so as you get fitter and stronger, forget getting on the scales. Trust how you feel and how your body is changing in response to the toning and shaping which exercise will always provide. Plus focus on the satisfaction you have from completing your exercises. That's good enough, honestly. xx
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