Get Active

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Cambridge Weight Plan encourages a physically active lifestyle.

We live in a busy world where, due to time constraints, physical recreational activity can play an increasingly smaller role in our daily lives. Being physically active is an important part of your weight loss journey and is key to managing your new weight long term. The following guidelines are recommended by Cambridge Weight Plan’s fitness expert Bob Zappala.

How much exercise you undertake depends on a number of factors: what Step you are following; what medical conditions you have or medications you take; your capability for exercise; your age, lifestyle and current level of activity.

What is the Australian recommendation for exercise?

Cambridge Weight Plan Australia recommends following the Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. These are generalised guidelines set by the Australian Department of Health to help everyday Australians get out there and to be more active.

The guidelines recommend that adults (18-64 years) should do 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times a week. To find out more about the Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines please visit their website.

So why keep Active with Cambridge Weight Plan?

It’s all about promoting a healthy lifestyle, which is so important for us and also teaching our children to also be healthy and active. Not only can exercise improve people’s health & wellbeing it can generally make them feel happier. There is medical proof that exercise creates endorphins that can make people feel happier: what other reason do you need?

How active are you?

The Australian Health Survey 2011-12 indicates that:

  • Only one-third of children, and one in ten young people undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • 60% of Australian adults did less than the recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day.
  • Fewer than one in three children and young people (5-17 year olds) met the “no more than 2 hours of screen-based entertainment” every day.
  • Nearly 70% of Australian adults (i.e. almost 12 million adults) are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity.

(NB: new physical activity guidelines recommend that adults accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week).

Ask yourself honestly how much exercise you are doing and then identify where you are on the chart below.

Slowly increase the amount of physical activity that you are doing, following the suitable exercise examples highlighted below.

 

activitychart

*Moderate-intensity exercise is the equivalent of the effort required to undertake a brisk walk. It should be performed at “conversational exercise” pace, so if you are too out of breath to talk you are probably working too hard.

Becoming more active

Do not consider starting a strenuous exercise programme at the same time as you commence a Cambridge Weight Plan Step.

  • If you already follow a vigorous exercise programme, you may need to moderate it to a less active level for a week or two until your body adjusts to your Cambridge Weight Plan.
  • It is recommended that no exercise beyond gentle walking be undertaken in the first two weeks of Step 1. Your body will need this time to adjust to a lower calorie intake.
  • After the initial two-week period, gentle to moderate intensity exercise* can be undertaken while on Step 1, providing that it is approached with caution and not done with excess.
  • Walking or cycling is excellent exercise but start slowly and do not overdo it at the beginning.

exerciseflowchart

 

Before starting any physical activity, start with a gentle warm up followed by some dynamic light stretching. Ideally this should last for 5-10 minutes, be appropriate for the exercise that you are about to undertake, and not be too strenuous.

Keep a track of your weekly activities by filling out the Cambridge Weight Plan Active chart.

At the end of the week review your diary. You may be surprised at how much activity you have actually done, or be able to identify ways that you can increase your activity levels.

Exercise ideas

Walking

Walking is a near-perfect exercise that can be enjoyed by almost everybody and can be performed almost anywhere. The Australian recommendation is completing 10,000 steps daily. Other than supportive footwear, you do not need any special equipment and, best of all, it is free!

Regular brisk walking provides many health benefits including:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduces high cholesterol and improves blood lipid profile
  • Boosts mental well-being, improves self-esteem and makes us feel good

Walking also plays an important role in helping to fight obesity and in weight management. Why not join a walking group – a great way to meet new friends as well as have fun and get fit!

How do I find out more?

To find out more about walking check out Race Walking Australia, Bushwalking Australia or 10,000 Steps Australia.

Swimming

Not only swimming a fantastic form of exercise, but it is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It is a lifelong skill – if you can’t swim, it is never too late to learn!

Regular swimming decreases the risk of chronic illness, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It also boosts your mood and helps to control weight. Swimming also works practically every muscle in the body and provides the best all-round, low-impact physical activity that we can participate in. When performed regularly, it is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, muscular endurance and enhance physique.

As body weight is supported by water, there is also less pressure on the joints, making it ideal for those with chronic back pain, joint problems, or those whose excess weight makes mobility difficult on land.

How to start

Beginners

Most pools cater for all abilities and will run learn-to-swim lessons for adults. These may be 1:1 lessons or in small groups. Ask at your local pool for more information.

Intermediate or Advanced Level

Most pools run “swim fit” schemes with many running coached sessions. These are a great way to train with other people, which will not only provide motivation, but will also be a great way to meet new friends.

How do I find out more?

Swimming Australia 

Aqua Aerobics

If you do not fancy swimming, why not try Aqua Aerobics. Working at a level to suit you, Aqua Aerobics resembles traditional aerobics which is performed in water and is a great way to get fit. You don’t need to be able to swim, and with reduced pressure on your joints, it promotes fitness for life, maintaining stamina, strength and suppleness. Ask at your local pool for details of any classes being run near you. 

Skipping

No longer confined to the school playground, skipping is a fun way to get fit with many gyms now incorporating skipping into fitness classes. The great thing about skipping is that other than a rope and supportive footwear, you do not need any special equipment. It is inexpensive, convenient and can be done just about anywhere at any time. Skipping is an excellent cardiovascular workout, which targets thighs, calves, bottom and shoulders, helping to keep these areas toned. It also provides less impact to your joints than running and will burn more than 2500 kilojoules an hour.

How to start

Start slowly! Warm up for 3-5 minutes, with gentle stretching.

Start with 20-30 seconds of skipping mixed with 30 seconds of marching on the spot. As you get fitter, increase your skipping time.

Start with double-footed jumps, but as you feel more comfortable, add in some variety such as alternating feet.

For technique tips visit Jump Rope Institute or Skipping Australia.  

Group classes

Zumba

Zumba literally means “moving quickly and having fun”.

Zumba fitness, or the Zumba programme, is a dance fitness programme that was created by Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 1990s. It is a dance-style aerobics workout to swinging Latin American music.

All the different Latin American and international dance styles – salsa, samba, merengue, hip-hop, belly dancing and reggae – encourage you to move your body and have fun; for added measure, squats and lunges are also included.

After just a couple of zumba classes, you’ll be hooked! The party atmosphere, dance moves and music make you use your whole body without even feeling like you are working out. Zumba can burn between 2090-4180 kilojoules an hour and helps to build stamina, lose weight and increase muscle tone.

Anyone can join in, from teens to seniors of both sexes. You don’t need to be able to dance and you don’t need a partner. There are eight different types of classes for different levels of age and exertion. These include zumba told – this mainly targets the older population and is specifically designed to the needs of the elderly. Zumba toning is for the people who do their workouts with toning sticks. Zumba toning will target the abs, thighs, arms and other muscles throughout the body. Aqua zumba is zumba in a swimming pool.

For further information and to find a class near you visit Zumba.

Kettlercise

Kettlercise is a fitness class that incorporates the use of kettlebell training in a friendly group atmosphere.

Kettlebells look very similar to a cannonball with a handle and come in a variety of different weights. They have been used for centuries by strongmen, with the word “Girya”, meaning kettlebell, first appearing in a Russian dictionary in 1704. Since the 1990s they have become more fashionable and are now used in many gyms to boost overall fitness and strength.

Kettlebells can work more muscle groups than almost any other form of exercise, providing an all-over body workout. By using a variety of different techniques to lift and swing the kettlebells, not only will you improve your posture, as your body has to work hard to stabilise it, but you will also target your legs, lower back, shoulders and arms, as well as improving endurance. Kettlebell workouts can also improve your cardiovascular fitness. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 20-minute workout using kettlebells, on average, will burn 1138 kilojoules. The only other exercise to come close to this was cross country skiing uphill!

To find a class near you visit Kettercise.