Get fit and strong - and boost your mood!

This week’s email is all about utilising exercise strategies to manage weight.. get some tips for easy ways to increase your energy and maintain muscle mass whilst losing weight.

So why should we exercise? Is exercise important for weight loss or maintenance of weight?

Being physically active helps to:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce resting heart rate
  • Reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce blood sugars in those living with diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of at least 13 cancers
  • Improve muscle strength
  • Improves the ability to move easily
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Improve mood
  • Improve sleep quality

But I’m exercising and still not losing weight!

Despite the health benefits of exercise, many people who have excess weight have often report being quite frustrated with exercise in the past – no matter how much exercise they do, it doesn’t seem to have an impact on weight (or in fact, weight just keeps creeping up!).

That is because weight loss is mostly about your nutrition (you can’t outrun a bad diet). In weight loss, we talk about the 80/20 rule 80% nutrition, 20% exercise. This is because it is very easy to consume a large amount of calories with a small amount of food and it takes a lot longer to burn that energy off with exercise.

For example, a cake and muffin might provide you with 600cal of energy, but it would take about 1 hr to burn this energy with moderate intensity walking.

So yes, we need to focus on nutrition but when it comes to exercise, every little bit helps! Let’s break it down and look at the role of:

  • Incidental exercise
  • Planned exercise and
  • Strength exercises for weight management.

Become an energy waster!

Being active is.. well… how we were built to be! If you think about our hunter gatherer ancestors, movement, lifting, squatting, running these were all part of normal life – in fact – were necessary for survival (think about how we used to catch our food!). Nowadays, we are energy conserving beasts. We sit all day at work, we lay down at night in front of the TV and we use energy conserving devices to be more efficient. This efficiency is saving us time, but costing us in health…

Your challenge…


Now, by that, we don’t mean contribute to climate change and leave the lights on all day! What we do mean is find ways that you can fidget, move, and do things in the most energy inefficient way possible.

Some tips for wasting energy:

  • Use a stand up desk when at work
  • If no stand up desk, then set an alarm to get up and walk somewhere every 30mins eg. To get a glass of water or get up to talk to a work mate instead of phone them
  • At home, try folding and putting away one piece of clothing at a time to each room/wardrobe
  • When brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, get down into a squat for 20 or 30 seconds at a time
  • When at the park with the kids or grandchildren, run around after them, or do some steps on the play equipment

What about cardiovascular or aerobic exercise?

The majority of your energy expenditure each day is due to your resting metabolism. For the average woman this is approx 1400 cal/day or around 1800 cal/day for a man.

But doing some planned exercise, you can boost that by 200, 400 or even 600 calories per day depending on intensity and duration.

What type of exercise is best? One that you enjoy and can stick to! Here are some examples:

The energy burned during exercise depends on your age, weight, exercise intensity and duration. The following table provides you with a guide to the amount of energy you can burn during exercise.

Activity (1-hour duration)Energy Expenditure (Calories) for an individual approx 75kg
Aerobics, low-impact365
Aerobics, water402
Bicycling, < 15kph>292
Dancing, ballroom219
Elliptical trainer, moderate effort365
Golfing, carrying clubs314
Running, 8 kph606
Skiing, downhill314
Swimming laps, light or moderate423
Walking, 5.5 kph314

Reference: Ainsworth BE, et al. 2011 compendium of physical activities: A second update of codes and MET values. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43:1575.

The 2014 Australian physical activity guidelines recommends we incorporate at least 150 mins of moderate intensity exercise a week. Here are some tips for including cardiovascular exercise in your day:

  • Schedule it into your day, like an appointment non negotiable! Often setting out first thing in the morning means it gets done and is out of the way! Make sure you get your clothes ready the night before and you’ve got that nuclear alarm set to get you out of bed!
  • Get an accountability buddy ask a friend to join you for a regular walk you get to have a chat and get moving. Make sure you are puffed out when you’re walking (but can still get in a good chat!)
  • It’s too wet or too hot outside? No dramas – Get a skipping rope to work out at home or try some burpees, mountain climbers or jumping jacks to get your heart going.
  • Time poor? Yes… but we’ve all got 7 minutes! Get the 7 minute workout app and do 3 of these a day and you’re on your way to improved fitness

When it comes to getting exercise in, we all differ! The key is to find the time, the place and the people to do it with and it becomes easier. Set some goals, set some challenges to gamify it. Make exercise fun!

How can I boost my metabolism?

One of the most effective ways to burn more energy in the long run, is to increase your muscle mass and increase your resting metabolic rate. By doing strength training, not only do you burn energy during, but you also burn it after, the time of exercise (yay!). In addition, during a period of caloric restriction when you are losing weight, you want to ensure you are losing that all important fat mass whilst preserving your muscle mass. This helps you to keep your metabolism strong and make it easier for you to maintain your weight (rather than slowing your metabolism, where you have to eat fewer and fewer calories to keep your weight steady). Bascially, building muscle mass, will help you to become a fat burning machine!

The 2014 Australian physical activity guidelines recommends we incorporate strength exercises into our activities twice a week. This might include exercises at the gym, yoga, pilates, or strength exercises at home using your own body weight.

A word from our exercise physiologist Grant Jennings from Kieser

“One of the biggest barriers to exercise we as Exercise Physiologist hear is “I don’t have enough time”. The recommended 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days might sound like a lot but can be broken down into small amounts to make it easier to fit in. Two brisk walks for 15minutes on one day still equates to 30min on that day!”


Doing more strength training can sometimes increase your hunger – add in some extra protein eg. Protein shake, 2 boiled eggs or a tin of tuna to help rebuild those muscles

Check out the Valita app for some exercises you can do with your own body weight work up from basic, through intermediate to advanced.

Or if you need the accountability and support, then reach out to one of our exercise physiologists around Melbourne and Adelaide www.alevia.com.au/our-team

Improve your energy, self confidence and mood

Being active is good for your health. People who are physically active often report the benefits of improvements in their mood, self esteem and self confidence. And best of all being active can be free!!

So make sure you make time for yourself and make movement fun! Increasing incidental activity is about trying to find ways to become an energy waster. To improve your cardiovascular fitness, find the type of exercises that get you huffing and puffing and that you enjoy doing. And don’t forget the benefits of strength training for control of weight long term become a fat burner.

Need help to get moving ?

At Alevia we are here to help you reach your health goals. And there’s no doubt that being physically active is good for our health. So, if you need guidance about what type of activity you should be doing, how much to do or how to build up from very little activity, then we are here to help. Make a time to see one of our Alevia team and we can get you moving again.
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