Regular physical activity is an important part of any weight loss plan. The best type of activities for fat loss include ‘weight bearing’ exercise like power walking, dancing, tennis, badminton, rollerblading and aerobics. Weight supported exercise like swimming and cycling are less effective in shifting unwanted fat.
Moderately intense physical activity, for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week, will help you to:
- Improve your fitness and stamina.
- Increase your metabolism.
- Burn up kilocalories from the food you eat.
- Reduce fat stores in the body.
- Increase and maintain muscle strength and tone.
If you want bigger muscles and better muscle definition, then you should follow a weight training program. For a safe and effective weight training program, see a gym instructor or a personal trainer rather than designing your own. They can tailor a weights program to your needs and provide instruction on how to handle the weights without injuring yourself.
Unfortunately, you cannot shift fat from one part of the body (e.g. the hips) to another part of the body (e.g. the bust) through certain forms of exercise. If you are pear shaped, with shapely hips, then regular physical activity and good eating habits will help you to lose weight from all parts of your body, including your hips.
If you are not used to physical exertion, then you should have a check up with your doctor before embarking on an exercise program or starting a new sport.
Here are some practical pointers for started with physical activity.
- Get the right gear - a comfortable pair of shoes and loose-fitting clothing will ensure you are comfortable during your workouts.
- Stretch both before and after exercise to reduce the risk of injury, increase flexibility and prevent muscle soreness.
- Taking on too much too soon is unsafe. Start with small amounts of exercise and gradually build up to a rate that you feel comfortable with.
- Expect to take weeks or months to build up your stamina and fitness.
- Set yourself some exercise goals and keep a weekly log of your efforts. Update your goals as you become fitter.
- Find yourself an exercise buddy to get you motivated and keep you motivated.
Keep the fluids up. Carry a drink bottle with you and make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise