A motivational speech to be presented to a group of would-be weight-loss clients. The subject of the talk is gateway exercise and outlines some examples of exercises and how they can be incorporated into everyday life. The arguments should be contextualised e.g. explaining the number of calories which can be burned and how much fat that equates to over a given period of time.
Welcome to this introduction on how to start weight-loss through using ‘Gateway Exercises’.
By coming here today, you have made the first step to find the right exercise to change your lifestyle and meet your weight-loss goals.
A gateway exercise is any physical activity that gets you moving more often and keeps you motivated to create a new healthier lifestyle.
If your current lifestyle sees you driving everywhere, sitting down at a desk to work and then coming home to relax in the front of the television, many of you will not feel too confident about making a huge change to your routine immediately. You may not feel it is possible to walk to work every day, go the gym during your lunch break or take up a team sport in the evenings.
Gateway exercises show that any exercise is better than none Starting with a few minutes a day can get your body used to being active. It will feel less intimidating. As a weight management consultant I can help you identify areas in your life where you can make small changes to help everyday chores become new ways of exercising while getting on with day-to-day necessities.
I’m now going to give you some ideas of lifestyle changes and how they can be used as a gateway to exercise, physical activities and into improved health.
1. Walking is the most accessible gateway exercise with no specialist equipment or training required (although comfortable shoes are recommended). Walking can be a planned exercise or it can be worked into your everyday routine. For example, walking instead of taking the bus or driving, parking further away from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the lift, going a long route to the shop…
Walking is very low impact so it is very unlikely to cause injury and even those with health concerns can participate. As well as starting you on a path to greater physical health it also increase your mental well being and can be done alone or with a group for extra socialising time.
Depending on your weight, walking at 4mph burns 5-8 calories per minute which is 225-360 calories for 45 minutes. Walking 45 minutes most days can lead to a 1lb a week weight loss without having to change anything else.
Swimming is also very low impact and any style from breast stroke to front crawl to doggy paddle is beneficial for weight-loss. Swimming is great because it strengthens, tones and conditions the whole body.
Visit the pool and find out their quieter times if you feel that arriving first time when the pool is busy will be a barrier for you to take up this activity.
Depending on your weight and speed of swimming you can burn between 450 and 700 calories per hour which if you do this twice a week can result in weight loss of 1lb a week.
Cycling is another low impact activity. If you have a bike already you can save money on travel and exercise as you commute. Cyclists burn between 372 and 1000 calories per hour depending on your weight, speed and the terrain you cover. If you are out cycling and getting out of breath 3 times a week this equates to about 1lb a week.
Cycling outdoors exposes you to a variety of terrains and helps strengthen the cardiovascular system and increase your metabolism. For a more intense workout you can build up to spinning which uses fixed bikes with programmable settings allowing you to reach speeds unattainable on the road.
Gardens need regular maintenance so using gardening as a gateway exercise is a great way to establish routine and having a beautiful garden is incentive to keep going.
Raking, putting leaves into a sack and planting can use 300 calories per hour, Using an electric mower uses 330 calories per hour whilst a manual one uses 400 calories. Weeding uses about 350 calories per hour. So being outside and doing the chores several times a week can lose a 1lb a week in weight without making other changes.
Gardening helps build muscle and increase flexibility, extra calories can be burned by incorporating appropriate exercise techniques e.g. instead of kneeling to weed you could try squatting and pushing up.
Step aerobics is a cardiovascular routine often timed to music using a step. It is important to set the step up correctly to avoid injury or strain on joints. An average 45 minute routine can burn 550 calories and targets muscles in the legs hips and bum, it also helps improve coordination and strengthen core muscles. It burns the same amount of fat as a 1 hour 7mile run which equates to about 1lb per session.
Gateway exercises can gradually increase in intensity. For example someone new to physical activity may begin walking a short distance for 10 minutes on a flat surface. Over time the length of the walk may increase as well as introducing inclines and a more vigorous pace.
By making simple changes in your routine, whether it is walking a different route or putting some extra power into a household chore like hoovering or washing the car, you can make a difference to your health.
Once you are used to this level of exercise many more options become available that can burn calories quicker, such as sports like tennis and squash or classes such as zumba and boxercise. You may have built up enough confidence to use the outdoor gym or to sign up for gym membership. You may feel motivated enough to exercise at home following a routine of your favourites or one that is on YouTube.
Once you realise what you can achieve with the gateway exercises it will keep you motivated to turn these activities and any subsequent dietary changes into a new way of living.
No matter where you are now there is something that you can do to take those first steps….Your journey starts here.