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Exercise programs for losing weight

An excellent way of slimming is to use exercise programs and fitness plans as a way to help you not only lose weight and burn fat, but to improve fitness and boost your energy levels.

Exercise - especially exercise progranms that you stick to, combined with a healthy balaned diet are the key to reducing weight, reshaping your body and keeping weight off for good.

Improved fitness levels and lower body fat will also help reduce the chances of overweight related illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Exercise Programs

An effective exercise program really depends on each individual and the goals of that individual. Obviously the exercise program of an Olympic athlete will be significantly different from an individual looking to lose a few pounds. Planning a fitness regime should not only take into account present fitness level, current health and age, but also interests and individual skills. Try to fit exercise into your daily routine (see our range of exercises at home), and if possible involve others as an aid to motivation and to make exercise more enjoyable. Taking up a sport is a great way to enjoy yourself while getting fitter.

Fitness For You

How often exercise is undertaken is again down to the needs of the individual, but it is recommended to undertake workouts throughout the week and avoid consecutive days of hard exercise.

Below is an example of the level of activity necessary for the average, healthy person to maintain a minimum level of overall fitness. Some popular exercises have been included as examples.

WARM-UP : Gets the body in a state of readiness for vigorous activity and enhances the performance of movement required for exercise. A thorough warm-up reduces the risk of injury, especially when performed prior to repetitive and/or resistance-based exercise.

A general warm-up results in mild elevation of the heart rate and ventilation and perhaps light perspiration, but shouldn't be fatiguing.

example warm-up : 5-10 minutes of exercises such as walking, slow jogging, knee lifts, arm circles or trunk rotations. Low intensity movements that stimulate movements to be used in the activity can also be included in the warm-up.


MUSCULAR STRENGTH : The ability of a muscle to exert force for a brief period of time. This can be measured by various weightlifting exercises. The gym is the ideal place to work on muscular strength if you do not own you own weights.

example muscular strength : a minimum of two 20-minute sessions per week that include exercises for all the major muscle groups. There are some excellent resources available if you would like to find out more about weight training.


MUSCULAR ENDURANCE : Gets the body in a state of readiness for vigorous activity and enhances the performance of movement required for exercise. A thorough warm-up reduces the risk of injury, especially when performed prior to repetitive and/or resistance-based exercise.

A general warm-up results in mild elevation of the heart rate and ventilation and perhaps light perspiration, but shouldn't be fatiguing.

example warm-up : 5-10 minutes of exercises such as walking, slow jogging, knee lifts, arm circles or trunk rotations. Low intensity movements that stimulate movements to be used in the activity can also be included in the warm-up.


CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE : Cardiovascular (or cardio) exercise has numerous health benefits. In addition to burning calories and lowering your body fat, it will strengthen the heart and lungs. Long runs and swims are good examples of cardio exercise. See the Cardio page for more information on the effective cardio exercise.

Example Cardiovascular Exercise - at least three 20-minute bouts of continuous aerobic activity exercise each week. Popular aerobic conditioning activities include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rowing and skipping.


STRETCHING : the ability to move joints and use muscles through their full range of motion. The sit-and-reach test is a good measure of flexibility of the lower back and backs of the upper legs.

Flexibility through stretching is important as it increases physical performance, decreases risk of injury, increases blood supply and nutrients to the joints, increases neuromuscular co-ordination, reduces soreness, improves balance, decreases risk of low back pain, and reduces stress in muscles. Check out the Stretching Exercise for stretching exercise details in full.

Example Flexibility - 10-12 minutes of daily stretching exercises performed slowly without a bouncing motion. This can be included after a warm-up or during a cool down.


COOL DOWN : - a minimum of 5-10 minutes of slow walking, low-level exercise, combined with stretching.