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Regular activity opens up a whole menu of body-boosting benefits, from a more toned shape to a lowered risk of heart disease and certain cancers. What might surprise you is that these benefits don’t have to come from intense exercise, such as running 10Ks or doing high-energy fitness classes (phew!).

Our Body Magic programme is based on the psychology of fitness motivation and behaviour change. It’s been developed to help members to overcome personal barriers to moving more and gradually build activity into their routine – until it’s an enjoyable part of life that they can’t imagine giving up! One of the ways we do this is by focusing on five active habits that are great for health and wellbeing.

While maintaining all five active habits is the ultimate goal, you don’t have to start them all at once. Adding just one of these types of activities to your Body Magic arsenal will boost your health in vitally important ways. For the next five weeks, we’ll be delving deeper into each type of movement and looking at how you can build them into your busy schedule. First up, let’s get up to speed on why it’s good to sit still less…

Why should we sit still less?

Even for very active people, long periods of sitting can increase the risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Research and Scientific Affairs, explains:

“When you’re sedentary (for example, when you’re sitting still), your major muscles are inactive, so your metabolism is lowered. That means on top of burning less energy, you’re also not metabolising – or using as much fuel in your blood – such as glucose or fats. The good news is, just by standing up, stretching or changing position, you engage your muscles again, get your blood flowing around your body and kick-start your metabolism!”

MORE ON THE BLOG: Discover the science behind Body Magic.

Getting started

While many of our jobs and lifestyles involve a lot of necessary sitting, it’s easier than you might think to be less sedentary. Just stretching your legs out while you’re sitting can help, and a two-minute wriggle every 20 minutes is even better. Here are some magic ideas to help you get your body moving just a little bit more:

  • Be the one to put the kettle on during the TV ad breaks.
  • At work, make a drink (even better, a round of drinks 😉), refill the paper in the printer or walk to see colleagues instead of emailing.
  • Stand up or walk around while you’re on the phone.

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Our five-minute activity videos are a great way to start building active habits into your day.

“Moving more helped me become the active nanna I always wanted to be”

Alison Berry, who lost an amazing 11st 6½lbs, started her fitness journey by dancing around the living room and now she can’t imagine not being active. She says:

“When I felt ready to start moving a bit more, I was still too nervous to think about exercising outside – I was worried passers-by would watch me sweating and panting. So I decided to try dancing in my living room instead.

Each afternoon, I’d draw the blinds, pop on a CD and bop around the room for as long as I could. At first, I’d be out of breath after the first song, but gradually it began to get easier and soon I was dancing for an hour at a time.”

treetop - Alison Berry

READ MORE: Discover Alison’s full weight loss story here.

If you’re not sure where to start with activity, we can help! At Slimming World, we’ll guide and support you to build new active habits and find a fitness routine that works for you. You’ll also have access to expert strategies to help you overcome barriers, exclusive beginner-friendly activity videos, a fitness tracker so you can follow your progress and Body Magic awards to help you celebrate every milestone.

You can find out more about joining Slimming World here.

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