Being active for a healthy weight The Mediterranean diet has proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes

Coach Prince Fitness Correspondent

Do you want to feel better, move better and sleep better?

Inactive people who start moving get the biggest bang for their buck.

Experts say that any physical activity counts towards better health even just a few minutes!

If you are over-weight, you may find other things difficult to do and run out of breath easily.

You are also at a higher risk for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, knee arthritis and some types of cancer.

You can turn the tables with regular physical exercise, improve your stamina and help with weight loss.

Most importantly being active is essential to keep weight off once you have lost it, even if you do not lose weight, being more active decreases your risk of diabetes or heart problems — and overall just feel good.

If fat loss is your goal, you will need to eat less, be more active or a combination of both which is the best plan. Daily aerobic activity is key to burning more calories.

Strength Training helps too.

Each person is different so the exact same plan will not work for everyone.

Getting Started

Start Small: Sit less and move around more!

Walk to the shopping centre, walk the dog, dancing in the kitchen, take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Do not sit for more than 2 hours, find opportunities to move throughout the day.

This is called activity snacking and it all adds up.

Have A Plan: Would you prefer being active at home, in your neighbourhood or at a fitness centre?

Is there a particular time of the day you would prefer? Would you prefer a supervised programme? What is fun for you?

Schedule activity into your calendar, it is important.

Check Your Health: If you have questions about muscles aches, joint problems or health issues, talk with your health care provider.

Would physical therapy help?
Will any medications you are taking affect your body’s response to exercises?
Be Active with a Friend: Being active with others can help you stick with it.
Find an exercise buddy and meet regularly doing something you both enjoy. Join an activity club or recreation group.

Other Tips: If your concern is about being too out of shape or easily getting tired, start with just a few minutes of activity, 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening and gradually increase the time of activity as your body adapts.

Sometimes we eat to deal with stress or other emotions. Get help from a counsellor who can teach you how to deal with your feelings in a healthier way.

If you are limited by knee or back pain (or other injuries) ask your healthcare provider for a referral to physical therapy.

Try non-weight bearing activities such as chair aerobics, exercise in a pool or stationery cycling.

Set small achievable goals, for example, I will add 10 more minutes of walking each day this week. Improving fitness or weight loss takes time. Develop a healthy lifestyle and you will get there.

Aerobic Activity:

Aerobic activity increases your heart rate and breathing to burn calories. Your first goal is to build up to doing 150 minutes/week of moderate-intense activity, like a brisk walk, light cycling, water exercise or dancing.

To get long-term results, gradually build up to approximately 250- 300 active minutes per week. This may also include vigorous activity, like step aerobics, swimming or hiking.

Aerobic Activity Tips: Listen to your body. Start low and slow. Push yourself a little harder each time. Drink lots of water before, during and after exercise. Exercise in water takes stress off your joints and can just feel really good.

Strength Training: Resistance training improves strength and overall health. You’ll be able to do fun and daily activities easier and safer. It may be free weights, resistance bands, weight machines or your own body, for example, push ups or seated dips

How often? 2-3 days/week — Rest day in between. How hard? Start with light effort. Build up to medium or hard effort.

How much? 8-12 repetitions (for each major muscle group) Repeat 2-4 times.

Strength Training Tips: Avoid straining or holding your breath when lifting. Circuit weight training has been shown to help with weight loss, providing both strength and aerobic benefits. Give it a try.

Choose foods lower in calories, fat and added sugar to help you lose weight (1-2 lbs/week). Eat fresh fruits, veggies, whole grain foods, low fat dairy and lean protein.

The Mediterranean diet has proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Take more steps, use a smart phone or activity tracker. Count your steps each day for the first few weeks. Slowly build to 2 000 more daily steps than you’re doing now.

Then aim for 7 000 — 9 000 steps/day.

Just for fun, find ways of being active that are just plain fun. Try dancing, tend your garden. Play outdoors with your kids or grandkids.

Find what makes you smile and do it often. Flexibility, stretch your muscles 2-3 days/week to the point of feeling tightness. Hold for 10-30 seconds (30-60 seconds for older adults). For example, stretch your calves or your Hamstring.

By implementing the tips mentioned above and staying consistent and persistent in pursing your fitness goals, enjoying the process while at it, attaining your goals will be a certainty

Invictus Fitness Centre, a state of the art facility, your go to gym, offering a wide range of classes and programmes designed to help you achieve your fitness goals. Our experienced trainers are ready to create personalised programs aligned with your goals.

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