Walk, run, swim or cycle?

a picture showing people running, swimming, walking and cycling in green, blue, yellow and orange

So it’s almost Valentines day and we are in the second month of the year already! Time sure flies. Some people would have already embarked upon their fitness journey. Others will still be contemplating where to start or how. This is for you.

It can be very daunting when starting a fitness programme and some people are very intimidated by gyms and some of the people in those gyms. You will find that any decent gym with good staff will make you feel right at home from the very beginning. This is something I always endeavour to achieve with my clients too.

So what can you do to lose weight and get fit, that’s easy accessible and very inexpensive? Walk, run, swim and cycle. Ok, if you don’t already have a bike that will cost some money, but once it’s bought, it’s bought! The other options are pretty much free or very cheap.

So which is best for you?

Walking

Probably the easiest and cheapest of all. Walking for around half an hour to an hour each day will burn around 150 – 200 calories depending on the speed you walk, faster = more calories burned.

Running

Running is an almost natural progression from walking. Once the walking has become easier and you have lost some weight, you can think about running. There are some things to consider before taking to the local park and pounding the path.

You absolutely MUST have the right shoes for running. I have heard of many people that have started running with completely the wrong type of trainers and wound up with a plethora of injuries as a result. You can damage muscles and tendons as well as joints if poorly prepared for running. My tips are to go to a local sports shop and ask for their advice on running shoes. Some of the larger sports shops have facilities to actually calculate the best type of shoe for your gait (walking style)

I have been a keen runner for several years and still relish my runs and the feeling I get when I complete them. It’s like a euphoria and a real clarity of mind. It’s priceless. It also burns a lot of calories and develops good functional leg strength. A 30 minute run can burn around 300 calories depending on the speed and the weight of the person running. The more you weigh, the more calories you will burn.

Swimming

A great form of exercise that is gentle and suited to people that carry a lot of weight or are new to exercise. It is also a great form of exercise for the elderly as it is gentle and very low impact. You can expect to burn around 200 to 300 calories by swimming for 30 minutes, again this depends on your pace and weight. A very relaxing way to exercise as well.

Cycling

Cycling can be a great way to get around and also a great way to burn calories. It is kind of weather dependant, but with the right gear you can cycle anytime. Cycling for 30 minutes can burn around 300 to 500 calories depending on the speed you cycle and your weight.

You can of course try and do each exercise, but as I mentioned earlier, running will take some preparation and can be more detrimental than the other options if not properly prepared for.

In order to lose between 1 to 3 pounds of fat per week, it is said you must burn 3500 calories per week. Some of this can be done by exercise, but I would recommend reducing calorie intake from food for at least half of that amount and exercising for the rest. What you eat plays a huge part in losing weight and making changes to your eating habits will usually have a dramatic effect on your weight loss. For more information about diet, check out my other blog posts here

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