Even walking for just five minutes more each day will burn a few more calories that would otherwise have settled comfortably on us as bodyfat. What’s not to like? Think how we can feel after a long sit: our muscles and bones feel kind of slumped on themselves, shoulders hunched, stiff neck and back. Stand up, stretch, walk around the room – it will perk up our body and mind. Moving is good, it tones muscle, restores flexibility, heightens mood – gets our feel-good endorphins flowing.
And the more we move about – any old how – the more calories our body needs to burn, as in use, metabolise: energy in / energy out.
Busy doing nothing - but not quite busy enough
Sitting calmly at rest, doing nothing in particular, the body still needs energy (for which read calories) simply to keep us alive: it continually metabolises food calories in using the energy to breathe, keep cells i.e. organs functioning, blood circulating and so on. This minimum energy requirement, or Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), accounts for around 60 – 70 per cent of daily calorie expenditure; RMR slows down as we age.
What you don’t need for RMR needs to be used up in physical activity. The less we move, the more unused calories store up as fat. We’re back again to energy in versus energy out. Within healthy reason, the more we tip the balance towards increased activity the more fat we’ll convert to energy, the more weight we’ll lose.
Every little helps
Taking a first small step is a wise way to start. Decide what’s realistic for you. Remember, even five minutes more walking each day will burn above RMR. An over enthusiastic exercise regime is a) not essential and b) could end up soon going by the board as it's just too much to fit in or keep going.
However you decide to shake a leg now, the idea is to gradually build a bit more movement into our regular day-to-day life.
Written by Ruth Tongue