Getting active alongside following our Food Optimising plan is a great way to give your weight loss and your wellbeing a boost. Anything that warms you up, gets you breathing a bit harder and makes your heart beat faster can bring health benefits and help transform how you feel – so we call this sweet spot between Food Optimising and the right kind of moderate activity ‘Body Magic’!
All activity counts, from everyday jobs like vigorous vacuuming to a brisk walk in the park. If you’re just starting out, go slowly by adding gentle movement to your day. Once activity is part of your routine, and you feel confident and comfortable with what you’re doing, you can pick up the pace with something that challenges you a little bit more.
Finding something that you enjoy doing is key to making it a lasting habit, and we’re here to help you find the right activity for you with our series of fit tips. This week, we’re on our marks and ready to go with the what, why, where, when and how of running!
What: Running is one of the simplest activity options – we all know what it is, there’s no membership or equipment needed (other than a pair of trainers) and most people can do it straight from their own front door. Being simple, though, doesn’t make it easy! If you’re a beginner, start with walking, gradually increasing the pace before including some jogging, and only increase your speed and distance when you feel ready.
Top tip: Setting landmark goals is a great way to get started (for example, to the end of the street, to the next lamp post, or a lap of the park) – and it also makes it easy to chart your progress.
Bex (@slimming_world_bex_) – pictured in our main image – felt ready to push herself further than her usual distance and ended up completing 11km!
“I could cry, I’m so proud! This time last year, I couldn’t run 100 yards, let alone 11k!”
Why: Jogging and running are aerobic exercises which also use most of your body’s muscles, so they’re amazing for all-round health and fitness – anything that makes you breathe faster and increases your heart rate helps to protect you from heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Run regularly and your body will become more efficient at burning energy, too, helping you to reach your target weight – and maintain it!
Top tip: Running can also give your mood a brilliant boost. The post-run rush of endorphins will make you feel fantastic, and going that bit further or faster will send your self-esteem soaring.
Jen (@sw_and_running_with_jen) cracked the perfect combination of exercise and Food Optimising for her. She says:
“The Slimming World plan works! I lost 5½st in less than a year by combining Food Optimising and bumping up my activity by discovering my love for running.”
Where: The beauty of running is that you can do it just about anywhere! Some enjoy off-roading in the countryside close to home, others prefer roadside runs or jogging on a treadmill (or on the spot) indoors. Bear in mind the weather when you’re deciding where to run – icy pavements or muddy trails could cause slips and injuries.
Top tip: Planning a circular route will mean that you can enjoy varied scenery for the entire run. And when you’re ready, hills are a great strength builder!
Slimming World member Kate (@happy_healthy_kate) headed for local woodland for an energising morning jog…
“Started my day nicely with a 5k run, which helped me to clear my head and get ready for homeschooling and looking after a toddler and dog.”
When: Making activity a habit will help you get the best Body Magic results – and the key is slotting it into your routine in a way that suits you. Perhaps you’re an early bird and a morning jog leaves you full of energy. Or maybe you find that moving in the evening helps you to de-stress. You could even get started with something as simple as walking to the shops instead of taking the car. It’s all about finding ways to increase your activity levels that will work for you in the long term.
Top tip: You don’t need to set aside huge chunks of time for activity. Every five-, 10- or 15-minute session counts – whether it’s a jog around the block or a lap of the park.
Emma (@sw_novice) says: “During lockdown, my job has become a lot more sedentary as I’m working from home. I was feeling constantly sluggish and just very 😔 I’m going to try to jog three times a week during my lunch to break my day up – hopefully I’ll see a change on both the scales and in my mind and body. I love Slimming World’s Body Magic programme, because it’s manageable and I can start off small and work up my fitness levels.”
How: Jogging and running are as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t need any expensive equipment, just a pair of running trainers and clothing that you feel comfortable in. Tracksuit bottoms or leggings, sports socks, a T-shirt and a sports bra (if needed) are a good beginner’s kit. Spending five minutes warming up and cooling down is important to help you avoid injury.
Top tip: Our members all have an online activity planner, as well as a FIT log to record activity alongside their goals and strategies. They can also work towards Body Magic awards as their fitness builds. Tracking our progress shows us how far we’ve come and can help motivate us to make moving more a healthy habit for life.
Amy (@slimmingworldaimz) is following a running programme, taking it at a pace that works for her…
“Woo, week two of Couch to 5K! I may have to repeat this week again as not sure I’m ready to move on to the next one yet. We will see what Monday brings!”
MORE FOR MEMBERS: You’ll find a five-step warm-up routine in the Joys of jogging feature on our exclusive member website
Find out more about joining Slimming World here.