Do I really have to exercise to lose weight?
This is a pretty common question we get from new members - is exercise necessary to be successful in losing weight?
Yes and no - but mostly yes. Exercise has many benefits besides burning off energy. It’s good for your muscles and bones, it can improve your mood and increase your energy levels, reduce your risks of certain illnesses and help you relax and sleep better.
We encourage all our members to do some kind of exercise and the easiest way to get started is walking. It requires no gear, you can do it anywhere and you can make it part of your daily errands.
Started by walking
Three of our very successful members started that way, lost a lot of weight and ended up really loving exercise. But to begin with they certainly didn't love it.
"At the beginning of my weight loss I could only manage walking," says Sarah who lost 83 kg with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet. "I would have to force myself to get up every morning and walk."
"I would be out of breath and hating every minute of it but once I had been doing it for a couple of weeks I looked forward to my walk and began to enjoy it as the perfect way to start my day."
Getting started with exercise - any exercise - tends to have a snowballing effect. As you get fitter and feel the benefits of being more active, you'll likely feel like keeping it up.
Easy to fit in
For many of our members, the big benefit of using walking as their main exercise is that it can be combined with other activities, like going to work, shopping or spending time with the kids.
"I now make sure I do 10, 000 minimum steps a day, and run at least 3 mornings a week. Most days the kids and I will go out walking to the shops, park, or around the local river," says Jo Dynon, who lost 22 kg with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
Today Jo is an avid runner - she's completed a half marathon and is planning more - but she started with regular walking sessions through a local mums' group.
"I never thought I'd be someone who woke up at 5.30 to go running. While I struggle with the cold mornings at times, because I've made running part of my regular daily routine, it's just what I do."
The key for most is to make exercise a priority and not just something you do if you find time for it. By planning a walking session a few times a week it will be in your calendar as something you have to do.
Karen, who lost 13 kg with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, uses her walks and runs as her 'me time' and regularly schedules time off for a session.
"Having a break with a coffee and a good book wasn’t recharging me sufficiently," Karen says. "I was overstretched trying to manage my family’s needs and knew that I needed to invest in ‘self-care’ to look after myself better."
Every Saturday she rides 7 km to a parkrun, does the 5 km race, and rides back home again. And she takes her kids for walks whenever she can.
"I have days of the week where I walk - with three young children in tow, often pushing and carrying them all - to wherever we are going. I really miss the long walk if the weather is inclement or I’m sick," she says.
If you join the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, we have a range of walking and running exercise plans to choose from.