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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the best exercises for gradual weight loss and more of a lifestyle change?

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  • Joanna Baker

    Nutritionist, Registered Nurse

    Everyday Nutrition founder Joanna Baker has been working in healthcare for 2o years. As an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and a Registered Nurse, she has seen … View Profile

    The best exercises for gradual weight loss and more of a lifestyle change vary from person to person. The main imporatant factor is that it is something you enjoy. This increases your chances of keeping it up, rather than dreading it day in day out. Having more than one “exercise” you enjoy also helps you not to get bored of it and tends to challenge the body more.
    Cardio is great as the body burns calories on exertion.
    Weight training is great too as it increases lean muscle (lighter weights with more repetitions won't make you look like a body builder), this increase in lean muscle in turn raises metabolism which is the biggest determinant in calorie burn on a given day.
    In summary aim for at least 30 minutes per day, do different things each day and enjoy what you do, its great to come away from an exercise session feeling good and thinking of looking forward to the next session.

    Joanna Baker
    BHSc. RN DivI. Grad Cert Human Nutrition

  • Andrew Dowler

    Exercise Physiologist

    As an exercise physiologist i concentrate my practice on postural re-education, and orthopaedic rehabilitation delivering individualized exercise interventions for a wide range of conditions.Working closely … View Profile

    I agree with Joanna, the best type of exercise to lose weight is going to be the one you enjoy the most as it will ensure you are consistent. 

    Consistency is very important, as losing weight should be a slow gradual process which incorperates well in to your daily life. 

    Physiologically you have two basic options, both have benefits in losing weight, and need yo be chossen to fit within a persons current fitness levels and general health.

    option one is a long/slow approach. Exercise intensity is light to moderate, such as brisk walking, with a duration of around 60 minutes. This done most days, over a period of 12 -24 weeks is a great way of producing gradual weight loss. This is also very sustainable, and most people can walk.

    option 2 is short/hard approach. Exercise Intensity is high, but for short duration, usually less than 30 minutes. The exercise is very hard, and require adequate recovery and nutrition to support the training. The metabolic stimuli in this training is very effective, so can be great in terms of weight loss, but the training needs to be structured very well, and is not suitable for deconditioned people.

    option 3 is somewhere in the middle, moderate exercise 3-4 pw, a good combo of resistance training and cardio will do the trick.

    Of course nutrition needs to support the exercise, a well balanced diet is essential for weight loss.

  • Cameron Phillips

    Exercise Physiologist

    Exercise Physiologist, Echuca, Deniliquin, Kyabram. Strength and Balance, Prevention of T2 Diabetes, CVD. Strength and ConditioningFarmer, chemical free Biodynamic (enhanced organic) pomegranates, pasture raised beef … View Profile

    Exercise for gradual weightloss and more of a lifestyle change may vary greatly depending on your fitness and health status. In particular any muscuko skeletal pain will need to be identified and taken into consideration.

    As Joanna and Andrew have stated, exercise that you find enjoyable is extremely important for your success in maintaining a long term lifestyle approach to fitness and gradual weight loss.

    30min each day of continuous or higher intensity interval exercise (alternating days of aerobic and resistance training) combined with a low glyceamic load diet  will be very helpful in attaining weightloss goals. It is very hard to out run a bad diet!

    The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a combination of resistance training 3 days per week in addition to aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) 3-4 days per week.

    For resistance training I would recommend using exercises like squats, push ups, pull ups and lunges. Aim to complete repetitions in a full range of motion to improve joint mobility and strength through the entire movement. Master bodyweight before advancing to lifting with additional weight. Assessment and guidance from an exercise professional will be very necessary.

    Aerobic exercise may start with walking. If 10mins of walking is all you can manage, that is fine. Research indicates that 3x 10min moderate to vigorous exercise bouts during the day has a beneficial health effect.

    The social aspect of exercise is extrememly important, there are many walking, running and cycling groups who will embrace new group members and encourage your fitness journey. You can make many new friends by joining a group. It may be intimidating at first, but push through the comfort zone and turn up to some exercise groups. Other examples are: strength and balance groups, yoga, pilates, zumba, tennis, badminton, water aerobics, crossfit, touch football, futsal, soccer, basketball, boxing, rock and roll dancing and many more.

    An Example week may look something like this:

    • Monday Pilates class am or pm
    • Tuesday brisk walking with friends, group or self, 30-40min am or pm
    • Wednesday 20min run by yourself or with a friend as you are time poor
    • Thursday Resistance Training at home using full range of motion bodyweight exercise or with your exercise professional at their gym or studio
    • Friday morning Pilates
    • Saturday morning walking or running group or soccer, football, tennis, swimming or cycling etc
    • Sunday easy walk for 1hr with family or friends

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