Let’s Get Physical
Glenn Cardwell’s 10 tips why you need to get your body on the move.
‘It’s what your body was designed for,’ says Glenn Cardwell, author of Gold Medal Nutrition. ‘Being pressed against the lounge or office chair most of the day is not what the body was designed for. Get that heart a-pumping and those legs a-jumping, well walking at least. Here’s why the health benefits of activity are so extraordinary.’
- It burns up body fat and helps you avoid getting podgy and plump.
- It’s a great stress reducer. Had an awful day? Don’t take it out on family and friends. Take it out on the footpath and walk all over it.
- It raises endorphin levels so you feel good (endorphins are those happy chemicals released by the brain).
- It increases muscle mass, which in turn increases your metabolic rate.
- It helps stop you from overeating. Exercise tends to dampen the appetite. Even if you do lots of exercise, it is very hard to eat more kilojoules/calories than you have burned.
- It cranks up your brain and improves your self-esteem. Fit people generally don’t feel grumpy.
- It is very good for your immune system. Fit people are less likely to get colds and flu.
- It helps keep you regular and avoid constipation. Active bodies don’t generally suffer from a clogged downpipe.
- It’s good for your wellbeing helping to keep your healthy HDL cholesterol levels up, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes, protecting you from colon cancer, maintaining healthy blood pressure, good for the bones and joints, and great for helping you sleep better.
- It slows down the ageing process, slowing the loss in stamina, strength, flexibility etc.
Joanna McMillan-Price says: ‘Aim to walk at a steady, comfortable pace for a total of 20 minutes on four days each week. Plus complete the resistance exercise below on three days each week.’
Walk at a pace where you feel comfortable at all times and can carry out a conversation while walking. You should feel warmer as the blood flow around the body increases, taking fuel to your working muscles – this means you are burning more fat and increasing your daily energy expenditure.
Resistance exercise: squats
The squat is one of the best lower body exercises you can do. The muscles of your thighs and bottom are the biggest muscle group in the body and this means exercises involving these muscles use the most energy – exactly what you want to help you lose body fat. Throughout the exercise, keep your weight on the back two-thirds of your feet: you should be able to wiggle your toes. One last thing – don’t forget to breathe normally. Do 2 sets of 10 with a short rest in between.
- Stand with your feet parallel and just wider than hip-distance apart. Extend your arms directly in front of you at chest height, with hands clasped.
- Lengthen your spine by standing tall and pulling in your belly below the navel to support the lower back.
- Imagine you have a chair behind you and sit back until you ‘touch’ the imaginary chair. As you sit back, make sure you keep your arms parallel to the floor and your chest ‘proud’.
- Squeeze your bottom muscles and push your heels into the floor to get back to the standing position.