Following a healthy diet is an important part of using the alli weight loss programme. But exercise is equally as important. Switching to a reduced calorie intake will help you to shed those extra pounds but it will be more effective if you combine this with exercise. A regular exercise routine will not only help you to lose weight but will ensure that you become fitter and healthier as well. You will find that you look and feel a lot better both physically and mentally and will have more energy than before. Exercise increases your metabolism which also increases the amount of calories burnt. This will encourage your body to use its fat stores which will reduce your body fat levels which means that you will look lean and toned. Following the alli programme means that you will reduce your calorie intake. This will cause you to lose weight but when combined with exercise, will speed up this process so that you continue to burn calories even after you have exercised.

Exercise and metabolism

Everyone’smetabolism is different. Your metabolic rate is dictated by age, gender and the amount of muscle mass you have. As you might imagine men have a faster metabolism than women which is due to their increased muscle mass, heavier build and lower body fat levels. Plus many men are often more active than women although this is debatable! Your metabolism is also determined by your genes although only to a certain extent. This means that it is possible to ‘speed up’ your metabolism which will help with weight loss.

Note: try and stick to the recommended calorie levels for the alli programme. Dropping below a certain number of calories per day, for example 1,200 or less will push your body into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism.

How much exercise should you do?

Experts advise us to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If time is an issue for you then split this into three, 10 minute periods of exercise in a day. For example, taking the dog for a walk counts as one of your exercise sessions or doing a spot of gardening. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it gets you moving and slightly out of breath. Ideally choose an activity which increases your heart rate and causes you to feel warm or sweat. Exercise does not have to mean competitive sport or going to a gym. Many people have unhappy memories of school sports or of the mantra ‘no pain no gain’ which instantly puts them off. This particularly applies to women and girls who are less likely to participate in sport than men. The aim is for you to find an activity which you enjoy and keeps you fit as well. This should be incorporated into your everyday routine which means that you are more likely to stick at it.

Benefits of exercise

Exercise conveys many benefits which include:

  • Improved fitness
  • Reduced risk of health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Improved confidence and well being (releases endorphins)
  • Leads to weight loss
  • Improved physical appearance
  • Can make you look younger than your chronological age
  • Improved quality of life

These equally apply whether you are young or old or male or female. As little as 30 minutes a day will result in noticeable results.

Plus exercise is an important part of the alli weight loss programme.

Exercise ideas

There are numerous activities to choose from. These include the more traditional sports such as football, netball, running, cycling and the gym through to ballroom dancing, walking, DIY and ten pin bowling. Find something which you like doing. Try a few activities until you find the one that suits you. Do not force yourself to do an activity because it is convenient or seems to be the right thing to do. If you enjoy dancing then try Latin American or Tap dancing. Salsa dancing is another increasingly popular activity. If you are a member of a gym then don’t feel that you have to lift heavy weights or run yourself ragged on the treadmill. Many gyms have a range of fitness classes to suit all tastes which include Pilates, Boxercise and Spinning. It can help to exercise with other people or friends. Many people find it boring to exercise on their own but are more likely to stay motivated if they train with others. Activities such as exercise classes are sociable and easy to do as is walking. Walking is a popular choice of activity due to the fact that it is easy to do, convenient and cheap. It is something you can do on your own or with others and can be fitted in easily to your daily routine. If you are pressed for time then fit a walk in at lunchtime or walk to and from work. Another option is to fit some form of physical activity into your daily routine. For example, walking or cycling to work rather than taking the car or using public transport. Walk up the stairs at work rather than using the lift.

Doing housework will also burn off calories. It is not most people’s favourite activity but cleaning, dusting or using the hoover will help to burn off calories and contribute to your weight loss. Keep that in mind whilst forcing yourself to do the housework. If you are bothered about injuring yourself then consider swimming. Swimming is kind to your joints, easy to do and accessible. It is one of the best forms of exercise available and relatively inexpensive compared to some other activities. If you prefer, find a few friends to go with you.

Remember: check with your GP first before starting any exercise routine.

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