Anne Collins, our Resident Slimming Expert, is one of Ireland's most experienced weight-loss consultants. Over the past 19 years, she has helped thousands of men, women & teenagers, including many suffering from severe obesity.
EXERCISE AND BATTERY HENS...
A battery hen is not allowed any exercise. It's kept inside a cramped cage, 24 hours a day, and fed so much that it gains over 43 times it's initial weight within 8 weeks. By contrast, we can move around whenever we want. But do we make the most of this freedom? I'm afraid not.
Result? Just like a battery hen, we're getting plumper, fattier, and less healthy.
If this sounds like you, then why not try a different approach? Don't spend the rest of your life cooped up in your kitchen, or your four-wheel armchair. Instead, get moving! Start moving those arms and legs and get some air into your body! Why? Because regular exercise gives you 12 great benefits.
It helps protect against heart disease.
It helps protect against many other diseases, including cancer, strokes, bowel disease and diabetes.
It strengthens your bones and muscles which helps to prevent aches and pains as well as osteoporosis and arthritis.
It helps your body to get rid of toxins and other waste products. It is particularly beneficial for smokers as it combats lung-damage and helps protect against poisons in the bloodstream.
It improves your circulation, thus improving your skin, hair and eyes.
It aids digestion.
It's good for the brain.
It boosts energy and stops you feeling tired.
It reduces stress, improves your mood and combats depression.
It improves your sex life.
It helps you to get a good night's sleep.
But the biggest benefit of all, is happiness. Why? Because as soon as we start exercising, certain 'happiness' chemicals, called endorphins, are released into the bloodstream. These chemicals give us a natural feeling of well-being, so we feel more in control of our lives and more confident about ourselves. Result? Life gets better and more enjoyable.
What sort of exercise do I recommend?
It depends on your condition.
If you're very overweight, then first have a word with your doctor. If it's okay with him/her, I suggest you start with something very gentle but do it regularly – i.e. at least 10 minutes a day. Try walking, or doing a few gentle exercises while sitting in a chair, or lying on the floor. Then, as you get used to moving around, gradually build up to about 20 minutes a day.
If you're less than two stone overweight, try going for a daily 15 minute walk. Then, as you get used to it, gradually extend it to 30-40 minutes a day. Just remember: there's no hurry, so take it easy and don't strain yourself.
Like having sex, or going to Mass, exercise benefits us most when we make it a regular part of our lives. It's no good rushing out and exercising like mad for two weeks and then giving up. We must make it part of our daily routine.
According to the Journal of Advanced Medicine (1994), every mile you walk or run theoretically gives you an extra 21 minutes of life and saves you 20p in medical care.
So, don't be a battery hen! Get moving and start living! It doesn't matter how flabby or unfit you are, the benefits you get from even a small amount of regular exercise far outweigh the effort involved.
The moral? Walk, walk, don't squawk, squawk!