Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dieting and Exercise - The Role of Exercise in a Healthy Diet

The modern diet is based on convenience – much of what we consume is at least partially prepared before it gets to our dinner plate, lunch box or snack tray. The result of this is that foods we consume are higher in fats and sugars than they are naturally – and what’s more, we’re not working half as hard to get dinner on the table because most of us don’t spend our day foraging around the neighbourhood or manually plowing a field to provide food for our bodies.

These two elements of our modern lifestyle are incompatible – and most of us consume more calories than our body needs to survive every day. Some people are fortunate enough to have a faster metabolism, which can eliminate the excess energy without adding inches to their waistline. Other people have realised that they need to take regular exercise and do so in a variety of ways. There are also those who limit their caloric intake to compensate for their lack of activity. Most nutritionists will tell you, however, that it is almost impossible to control your weight through diet alone.

Which is why there are gyms and fitness clubs in nearly every leisure park up and down the country. It is also why sales of celebrity-endorsed exercise videos and DVDs fly off the shelves. It is recommended that you do at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week to keep yourself fit and healthy; most people can make the time to exercise in their normal routine if they try and stick to this.

Exercising at home can be a challenge, particularly as cardio equipment, such as stationery cycles and rowing machines, can be expensive and more often than not ends up acting as a drying station for the laundry than a workout centre for your body. There are a number of recommendations that healthcare professionals can make, depending on your body type and goals.

Some simple tips for success are listed here:

1. Set realistic goals – it takes time to reshape your body and lose weight, a sensible expectation is to lose around 1kg per week.

2. There will be peaks and troughs in your weight loss, and the best way to get benefits from your exercise programme is to continue doing it. Increase the amount of exercise you’re doing (be that by adding time, reps or weight to the workout) by no more than 10% per week.

3. Always remember to stretch before and after exercising. Particularly if you haven’t exercised in a long time and are just beginning a new fitness regime, stretching can be a workout on its own.

4. Drink plenty of fluids – even when you’re just following a DVD exercise routine, it is important to keep yourself hydrated to get the greatest benefit from your workout.

5. Wear sensible shoes and clothing – it is especially important to wear appropriate shoes that fit correctly and provide adequate support.

6. Rest between workouts – in order to avoid straining yourself, particularly if you are new to exercise, it is important to give your muscles time to recover after exercise.

7. Learn the right techniques – exercises work best when done correctly, so check out a book or DVD from your local library if you aren’t sure how to do a particular exercise.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the following options for adding variety to your workout with virtually no cash outlay:

1. If you need some light free weights, try using tins of beans or soup.

2. Instead of buying workout DVDs or videos, check them out from your local library or rental shop first to be sure you like the workout – that way you don’t waste money on a workout you’ll only watch once.

3. You can walk or jog to the shop instead of driving when you only need to pick up a couple of things – doing this once a week will give your ordinary workout a boost.

4. Look out for local clubs or sports teams – usually the fees are minimal, and doing something in a group will provide you with extra motivation.

5. Try a skipping rope – you can use any old rope, as long as it’s long enough.

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