Diet alone is not enough – exercise is also essential for healthy weight loss. It can help you to burn more calories, boost your metabolism and develop your muscles. It will be much easier for you to get the body you want if you exercise.
Exercise for complete beginners
If you don’t already exercise on a regular basis, it might seem daunting. You might even think you can’t do it, or that you are not a “sporty type”.
But the truth is, you can exercise and there is a good chance you will find it enjoyable once you get going. The good news is that if you don’t exercise at all now, you will only need to do very little in order to start making a difference. You start very small, and gradually build up your strength and capacity. The key is to select an exercise routine that suits your lifestyle, and then to stick with it and do it regularly.
If you already do some exercise on a regular basis, you might consider reviewing your routine to ensure it will fit in with the low-carb diet. It is generally a good idea to mix things up a bit, and change your exercise programme every 3-6 months, so that you body doesn’t get too used to it. You need to constantly push yourself beyond your comfort zone – otherwise your progress will plateau.
Types of exercise
As this website is dedicated to dieting, we will assume that your main objective for the moment is weight loss, so all advice on this site was developed accordingly.
All physical exercise can be divided into the following three groups:
- Aerobic exercise (also known as cardiovascular or just cardio) increases cardiovascular endurance. Some examples of aerobic exercise are running, cycling, swimming and rowing. Read more about Aerobic exercise
- Anaerobic exercise increases muscle strength, and usually involves training with weights, weight machines and resistance bands. Read more about Anaerobic exercise
- Flexibility exercise usually involves stretching and results in longer range of motion for muscles and joints.
These effects do overlap to some extent – for example, running and cycling will help to develop your leg muscles, whereas doing many repetitions of lighter weights would give you a cardio workout as well as a strength workout.
For losing weight and getting in a better shape, best results are usually achieved through a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. It is a good idea to also include flexibility exercises, as it can help to reduce the risk or injury and improve muscle recovery.
Developing an exercise plan
It is sometimes claimed that there is no need to set separate times for exercising – as long as you move around more, for example, take stairs instead of a lift, walk to work etc. This is true to some extent – obviously, some activity is better than none. Unfortunately, small changes are unlikely to make much difference to your overall weight and shape. If you are serious about making lasting improvements to your body, you will need to incorporate exercise into your life – this means planning ahead, allocating time to it on a regular basis, and deciding on an exercise programme.
You might consider the following questions:
- How much time can I spend on exercise? Ideally, you would do an hour-long session several times a week, but you can opt for doing shorter 20-30 minutes bursts every day, or do fewer sessions but with higher intensity.
- Can I go to the gym? If there is one near you, this is a really good option. You would have access to professional equipment and advice, and committing to a contract can be an additional motivating factor (though not always!). Read more about joining a gym.
- What do I enjoy doing – or think I might enjoy if I try? Would you prefer to work out by yourself or as part of a group? Do you like being outdoors?
- How much money can I spend on equipment and clothes? You don’t need to spend much – in fact, it is perfectly possible to start exercising at home using some basic household objects.