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Exercise for Slimming

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

As well as sticking to your daily calorie allowance while you're slimming, it’s also important to find ways to use up more calories through exercise.

Being more active in your daily life is a great starting point, so think about how you can increase your activity levels each day. It might be as simple as putting more effort into the housework, taking the stairs at work rather than the lift, walking rather than driving to the corner shop for milk or parking further away from the supermarket entrance so that you have to walk further.

But for the best slimming results, you should also take planned exercise for a minimum of 3½ hours a week. That might sound a lot but when you consider that each week has 168 hours, it’s only a tiny fraction of time! It’s up to you how you divide this time up, for example, you might like to do 30 minutes of exercise every day or prefer to do an hour-long aerobic class, an hour in the gym and a 90-minute cycle or walk each week. It’s up to you!

Most fitness experts agree you’ll have more success with sticking to an exercise programme if you find activities that you enjoy. So do some research to find out what’s on offer in your local area. You might be surprised to find that you can do everything from salsa and self-defence classes to belly dancing and basketball. Think back too, to the activities you enjoyed when you were at school. If you loved netball, for example, it might be worth finding out whether there’s a local team you could join, or if you really enjoyed cross-country running, maybe there’s a local running team that wants new members.

If you really can’t find any activities that you enjoy, you may find it helpful to change the way that you view exercise and rather than looking at it as something you should have fun doing, view it as something that you simply have to do, such as cleaning the house. Most people don’t enjoy doing housework, yet it’s something they still spend time doing because they enjoy having a clean house they’re proud off. So if you hate exercise, start viewing it as something that you HAVE to spend time on because ultimately you’ll enjoy having a slim, fit body.

It’s also important to find activities that fit in with your lifestyle. For example, while you might choose to go swimming, you’ll never manage a twice-a-week swim if your nearest pool is a 40-minute drive away. Similarly, while going to an aerobics class might appeal to you, you’ll never stick with it if you’re unable to find someone to look after your children while you’re there.

Once you’ve started taking in fewer and burning up more calories through slimming and exercise, respectively, you’ll find the pounds start to drop off. But how do you stay on track, especially when your motivation starts to flag?

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