Keys to Success
Activity for Life
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As a precaution, you should discuss your level of fitness and general health with your healthcare professional before you start increasing your level of activity. If you have pre-existing injuries, discuss the best activity options and correct techniques with a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist before commencing an activity program.

Activity for Life

Increasing your level of physical activity does not have to mean getting breathless and sore or hot and sweaty!! All activity that you do during the day adds up, you don’t have to do it all at once.

The trick for increasing your activity for the long term is to start slowly and build up over time AND NOT TO over do it on day one and injure yourself or give up because it is too hard!

As a starting point any additional activity that you can do is beneficial.

The benefits of physical activity

Physical activity may help you :

  • Strengthen your heart muscle
  • Improve your blood cholesterol levels
  • Decrease your blood pressure
  • Guard against overweight, diabetes and osteoporosis / bone-loss
  • Manage stress
  • Boost your sense of "well-being"
  • Control sleep problems and may even help with feelings of anxiety or low mood
  • Decrease your risk of heart disease

Think of physical activity as an opportunity not an inconvenience.

Be active every day - in as many ways as you can.

Read on for more hints and tips on :-

Increasing incidental activity

As a starting point any additional activity that you can do is beneficial. This additional activity could be incidental activity such as:-

  • Doing extra jobs around the house that you normally wouldn’t do yourself (or that you tend to put off until another time) for example painting, spring cleaning or gardening
  • Taking the stairs just once more than you did yesterday
  • Changing the TV channels by hand rather than using a remote control
  • Walking instead of driving or parking further away from your destination and walking the
    extra distance there and back
  • (even fidgeting while you watch TV is better than doing nothing at all)

Or the additional activity could be more structured or planned such as

  • Walking
  • Going to the gym
  • Cycling
  • Playing sport
  • Taking the kids for a run in the park
  • Dancing
  • Going for a swim
 

 

The trick for increasing your activity for the long term is to start slowly and build up over time AND
NOT TO over do it on day one and injure yourself or give up because it is too hard!

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Activities for fat loss

The best type of physical activity for fat loss (in general) is WEIGHT-BEARING ACTIVITY, such
as walking.
A great way to get into walking is to start with a comfortable 10 minute walk on a flat surface then
build up to three 10 minute walks each day (or longer walks a few times a week if you feel like it).
Remember to wear comfortable supportive shoes, be sun smart, drink plenty of water and don’t
over do it.
If weight bearing activity such as walking is not possible or is too uncomfortable then activities
such as swimming, cycling, rowing and walking in water are good alternatives to get you moving.

A good long term “getting active” goal is to build up to a total of 200 minutes walking each week
or use a pedometer to measure your steps and build up to a total of 10 000 steps each day.
Keeping a weekly log of your activity will help you know how you are going towards reaching your
target.

This level of activity will really help your weight loss program and as it becomes one of your new
habits it will help you maintain your healthy weight for life.

 

Counting your steps - using a Pedometer

Pedometers are small devices that you can attach to your clothes which count the number of
steps you walk in a given time period.
How to progressively build up your daily step rate for weight loss:

  1. Record your base line step rate over 5-7 days using your pedometer
  2. Calculate the average number of steps / day by adding up the total number of steps and dividing by the number of days
  3. Add 1,000 steps per day to your average and set this as your new target step rate
  4. Try to get to this target for 1- 4 weeks or until it becomes easy to do
  5. Add another 1,000 steps to make a new target and carry this out until it becomes easy
  6. Continue this process until you reach a daily step rate of 9,000 - 10,000 steps 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Resistance Training (Muscle Strengthening)

Resistance training entails working muscles against weights, weight machines, your own body
weight (yoga / pilates) or resistance bands. Resistance exercise provides both positive and
negative force on the muscles thereby improving the strength and range of motion for all muscle
groups.

Other benefits of resistance training include:

  • Prevention and control of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis
  • Pain management – eg controlling osteoarthritic pain
  • Improved posture, balance, stability and strength

Whilst aerobic activity such as walking is best for reducing body fat and body weight, resistance
training has been shown to be the best option for maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass. As
you build muscle mass, your body starts to burn more kilojoules - even at rest, muscle cells still
burn up energy making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Studies where both aerobic and resistance training have been combined in an overall program
have shown a greater reduction in waist circumference (and therefore heart
disease risk) than aerobic exercise alone.

 For more guidance on appropriate resistance exercises specifically for you, visit your local gym or consult an
exercise physiologist.

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Overcoming some common hurdles

To avoid injury, warm your body up a little before exercising by slowly peforming the motion of
your chosen activity for 5 minutes before exercising.

Stretch for 5-10 minutes after exercise, while your muscles are warm and therefore more flexible.


Suggested solutions for some potential problems that may crop up when increasing activity
levels:-

 

Chafing

Solution: wear bicycle shorts or use Vaseline on skin surfaces that rub together

Sore legs

Solution: try more supportive shoes; stretch leg muscles after activity; see a podiatrist

 

Back or joint problems

Solution: do weight supportive exercises eg walk in water or on soft sand

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) 

Solution: talk to your doctor

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