When beginning a diet course it is important to remember that a sufficient amount of exercise should be carried out to complement your diet in order for you to achieve the best results.

Diet and exercise should go hand in hand, as the principle behind all weight loss programs is to burn more calories than you intake, as this will result in your body accessing stored energy reserves (fat) for energy.

There are two steps that need to be taken: Reducing your calorific intake, and increasing the amount of calories you burn. The latter is best done through aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate which leads to an increase in the number of calories you burn. Walking, jogging, running, swimming and cycling are all examples of aerobic exercises and are highly recommended.

Diet and exercise information

Before undertaking any diet or exercise plan consult you’re GP or a dietician for advice and make sure you are not at any medical risks. Ask your doctor for advice regarding the level of exercise that best suits your needs, and determining your ideal weight.

Joining your local gym or signing up for an exercise class is rewarding in helping you toward your ideal body image, providing you with new-found confidence, and could enable you to make new friends and training partners.

Other ways of keeping fit and in shape include; playing football, netball, rugby, badminton or any other sport that takes your fancy!

Become more active and aim for a healthy weight

Being overweight or underweight is not good for your health. Being overweight can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, while becoming underweight can also affect your health.

If you think you could do with losing a few pounds or more, remember to:

  • Make healthy food choices – choose low-fat and low-sugar options if possible
  • Only eat as much food as you need
  • Eat plenty of fruit and veg and wholegrains
  • Become more active – join the gym, or a football/netball team
  • Eat a variety of types of food so that you get all the nutrients your body needs.

Whenever we eat more than our body needs, we put on weight. This is because we store any energy we don’t use – usually as fat. Even small amounts of extra energy each day can lead to weight gain.

However crash diets aren’t good for your health and they don’t work in the long run. The best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is by making changes to your lifestyle gradually. Aim to lose about 0.5 to 1kg (about 1 to 2lbs) a week, until you reach a healthy weight for your height and age.


Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise, and can be done almost anywhere without any costs involved!

Walking helps to improve your overall health and fitness and is a great way to lose weight, tone your muscles, strengthen your heart and instil a general feeling of well-being and positive self-esteem. Turning walking into a regular activity and focusing on the pace and distance covered will greatly increase your fitness.

Walking can also be done with friends and family as a joint activity, helping to motivate others.

The benefits of walking

  • Helps burn calories
  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Can help towards maintaining a healthy weight
  • Boosts your energy levels
  • It helps to reduce body fat
  • It improves your circulation
  • Strengthens your legs
  • It helps to strengthen the immune system
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Help to prevent and control diabetes
  • It promotes positive mental health, including higher levels of self-esteem
  • Can help motivate other members of your family to walk more and become more healthy
  • Helps manage stress and release tension
  • It helps to improve the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • More environmentally friendly than driving
  • It can be done almost anywhere
  • Absolutely FREE


Running can provide you with a whole range of great benefits, as with all cardiovascular or aerobic activities.

Taking regular exercise can give you increased energy levels, reduce stress, and increase the efficiency of your heart and lungs. Exercises, such as running, can also lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate, minimising the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

In terms of calories, running for half an hour can result in the loss of between 300 and 700 calories, depending on your size and running speed.

Running is also one of the most convenient physical activities to take up. All you need to get started is a pair of trainers and clothes to run in and then you can start, whether outdoors in a local park, or indoors on a treadmill.

Whether you want to start joining organised runs, improving your health and fitness, shedding a few unwanted pounds, or you just want a cheap hobby to do in the evenings, running could be the perfect way to get you to where you want to be.

Here are 5 running tips to help get you started:

1. Consult your doctor

If you have a history of ill health or are new to regular cardiovascular exercise, make sure you make a visit to your local doctor for a check up to ensure you are ready to start a new exercise routine.

2. Check your equipment

Make sure you have a good quality pair of trainers to help avoid injury and some appropriate clothing. Try taking a trip to a local sports or fitness shop and ask for some advice on what to buy.

3. Running advice

Start off slow and build your speed and duration up slowly and remember to stretch prior to any exercise to avoid injury.

To start with, especially if you have been relatively inactive for some time, alternate between brisk walking and jogging, but make sure you don’t start by sprinting.

Walk for two minutes at a time and then jog for a minute or two to let your body adjust. Gradually start jogging or running constantly and aim to exercise for a total of 10-30 minutes to start with, depending on your fitness level, three to four times a week.

4. Listen to your body

When you undertake any physical activity it is important to listen to your body and not over-work yourself. After first starting off, muscle aches and tiredness will become a norm for your body. But, if you start to feel pain in your bones or joints, stop and rest until the pain ceases. If the pain seems to be taking a long time to disappear then consult your doctor to ensure that you are not doing yourself any damage.

While it may be frustrating to get into a good routine and then have to stop for a few days or a week to recuperate, this is still far better than the setback of needing an operation.

If you are finding yourself out of breath to the point where you can’t speak properly, it is possible that you are over working your heart and lungs and you should slow down or stop until you feel more comfortable.

5. Get others involved

You may find that joining a running club or finding a friend that you can drag along can be an invaluable motivational aid.

Running can also prove to be motivating for family members, especially if you have any kids. Making it a family activity will give you a chance to spend time with the family while keeping them all in shape.

Mixing your exercise regime with your social life can also stop it from becoming dull or from feeling like a chore.


Swimming is quite possibly the best all-round sport and exercise there is. It puts little stress on your body , works all the major muscles, and will help you to develop a toned and slim body.

You can train to swim at a competitive level or you can enjoy a few healthy lengths at your local pool, but whatever level you choose, swimming is great for you!

It can be described as a relaxing form of exercise and is never too late to begin at the basic levels or improve your swimming skills.

Many public pools now offer Aqua-aerobics; high impact aerobics without the high impact. Aqua-aerobics will help to shed those unwanted pounds and tone you up.

In terms of calories you will burn between 90-550 extra calories in a half-hour session, depending on your weight and exertion level.

Getting started

When starting up the first place you should check is your local pool, as most public pools have separate times for different groups – adults only, men only, women only, mother and toddlers etc.

Try swimming at least once a week and also try and get a friend or family member to join you for extra motivation for both parties. Start off by swimming a few lengths of the pool (more lengths the shorter the length of the pool) and build up the distance each week. Change your strokes to mix it up a bit and work different muscles more intensely. You will find that many pools will cordon off lanes of the pool for people wishing to exercise.

Once you have developed your swimming skills to a confident level then try signing up at a swimming club, which normally cater for all age groups. Swimming with a club will motivate you, and leave you feeling refreshed.

What do you need?

Swimming Costume/Trunks – Make sure you buy yourself some comfortable swimming trunks or costume. Look thoroughly as there are hundreds available in many different outlets and shops. Goggles are also recommended and come in handy as they can improve vision and prevent chlorine damaging your eyes. If you’re susceptible to ear infections, wear ear plugs.

Remember to stay in your depth and not get over-confident. If you go swimming in the sea on holiday or in a lake then be very cautious and if possible take someone with you.

Also try the following:

  • Aerobics
  • Badminton
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Jogging
  • Skipping
  • Tai Chi
  • Tennis
  • Yoga