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Developed by the British Dietetic Association.


getting physical being active


Being physically active uses up calories. In order to lose weight you need to either eat fewer calories, or burn up more by being more active. Successful slimmers do both.

Did you know that walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day for a year could lead to a weight loss of around 5.5kg (12lbs)?

How does exercise help with weight loss?

  • More of the weight you lose will be fat
  • Your metabolism increases (so you use up more energy even when you're resting)

People who have successfully lost weight find that being active is one of the major factors in keeping the weight off. So activity is really important in weight maintenance too. Combine this good news with the health and well-being benefits and you've got lots to gain.

R U ready to be more active?

Like any behaviour change, it's important to think through your reasons for wanting to be more active, and plan ahead for obstacles that might get in the way of your goal to be fitter. There are always benefits and potential downsides of any change. Only when the benefits are more important than the negative aspects of change, will you feel motivated to become more active.

Think about the benefits for YOU of being more active.
Other people have said things like:

  • Feel better about myself
  • Feel less stressed
  • Help me to lose weight

Now think about the downside of being more active. If you're not leading an active life now, think about what's stopping you. People have said in the past:

  • I don't have the time
  • It's too much effort
  • I feel embarrassed about my size

Finally, think about what happens if you stay as you are, and make no changes to your physical activity levels.
Your thoughts might include:

  • My weight will continue to go up
  • I'll still feel stressed
  • I'll keep feeling sluggish and unfit

Do you sometimes make any of the following excuses?

  • 'I don't have time' - exercise doesn't have to be time-consuming. Find something you enjoy doing and build it into your daily routine.
  • 'I'm too old' - anyone can get active at any age
  • 'It's expensive' - not necessarily. You don't have to join a gym and you don't have to invest in expensive equipment
  • 'It's boring' - then find something that you enjoy. Dancing round when you're vacuuming can be just as beneficial as working out
  • 'It's dangerous' - it's certainly more dangerous if you don't exercise. But if you're worried, check with your GP first (See Safety tips)

Remember: an extra 30 minutes of activity a day will help you to manage your weight and improve your health. Try to build as much activity as you can into your daily life, aiming for a total of 60 minutes each day if you can.

Ready to get moving? Click on 'What's best for you?' Even if you're not sure, have a look and see what it would mean to be more active - it may not be as hard as you think!