Week 8: Increasing physical activities without going to the gym



So far on healthy ways of managing weight, we have looked at Dietary Diversity and Healthy Diet, Healthy food preparation, managing fast foods, take-aways and dining out and Interpreting food labels properly. This week would be focusing on Increasing physical activities without going to the gym. 


are to understand the importance of physical activities (PA), the Relationship between PA and weight control, other benefits of PA and exercise, practical tips to increase PA without going to a gym. 

Definition of Physical Activities and exercise:

PA is any movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. Exercise is a type of Physical activity. It is a planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to maintain/improve physical fitness/wellness or overall health. Your goal of exercise should be wellness and health. 

Types of Exercises

Endurance exercises: Examples include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, step training etc.  Exercises help the body use oxygen better, helps the Heart and lungs to function better. 

Strength exercises: which build such as lifting weight. 

Balance exercise: Standing on one foot, heel to toe walk. 

Flexibility exercises: Stretching such as shoulder/upper arm stretch.  

Engage in activities that are readily available and easily integrated into your lifestyle and work schedule.

Importance of Exercise:

Most students are often sedentary. They sit for hours to receive lectures and read so it’s important to recognize these facts. Be Intentionally active. Walk instead of driving, boarding a bus/motorcycle every where. Add moderate exercise to your lifestyle. Apart from activities of daily living, this should contribute 630kJ to the amount of energy you use per day. 

Relationship between exercise and weight control

Balance between energy intake and energy expenditure: Energy intake depends on the food taken. The amount of energy expenditure depends on: Starting body weight, Metabolic rate and Physical activities – Frequency, intensity, duration and type. 

Net Energy balance depends on the difference. If intake is more than expenditure, then positive balance occurs. For example, a piece of cake contains 537 calories and a bowl of rice contains 204 calories. Moderate exercise at the rate of 6 km per hour will burn (276 Kcl per hour) i.e. 2 hours for a piece of cake. Expending unnecessary energy leads to weight loss.

Other benefits of exercise apart from weight management include:

It Increases energy level, builds up strength and endurance, has an antidepressant effect as it reduces stress levels, improves rest and promotes more peaceful sleep, It makes the heart work better and aids blood circulation. It lowers bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol and lowers blood pressure readings. It prevents diabetes, stimulates the immune system and prevents infection. It aids elimination of toxic substances, aids strong bone and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Stretching also improves flexibility and exercise reduces forgetfulness in old age. 

Why do some people find it difficult to do exercise?

Good reasons: Illness 

Poor reasons: lack of time, shyness to appear in tight fitting exercise outfit, Safety, don’t know where to go, don’t know what to do, no skill, weather -raining seasons, no equipment. 

Monitor your exercise related thoughts and deal with them. 

Increasing physical activities without going to a gym:

You can do a lot without registering in a gym. To do so, you need to commit yourself, plan ahead and establish a routine. Find out what is available and possible to do. Fidgeting can burn significant calories. Get up after every 30 mins of sitting to stretch your legs and move around. Contract your muscle or move parts of your body while sitting for a long time. Increase activities of daily living. 

In facilities like Campus, school compound, public parks and others. You can engage in active recreational activities like cycling, jogging, skipping etc. Walk briskly and climb stairs. Outdoor exercises are better than indoors as you can get fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun. Take part in sports

Achieving your exercise goal:

To achieve your goals, use self-monitoring to find out how active you are. Monitor your exercise related thoughts and activities. Are you active enough? Find out why you are not active enough and what you can do about it? Choose exercise goals that are sustainable. Start gradually and preferably with a trial period. Choose aerobic exercises. Plan to do it daily at a specific time.  Routine builds habit. Get the support of a friend or family member. Combine exercise with an activity you enjoy (e.g., music). Be consistent. No jumping or complete rest. Keep records of what you are doing. 

The best time for exercise:

It depends on your routine but early morning helps you become active on time and face the day’s challenges. It aids weight loss better and lowers blood sugar levels. The body must burn fat to get energy to run or walk. It ccombats the stress of the day better although it can also be done at other times like break time where you engage in Stretching or lifting and after working hours. 

Avoid late night exercises. Conclude your exercises at least 3 hours before bedtime. 

Duration and frequency:

At least 30 min/day and at least 5 days/week to maintain health. Can be divided into 2 or 3 periods of 10 /15 mins but 30 minutes at once is more effective. The fitness and weight loss benefits are the same. To achieve weight loss, increase the timing and aim at daily exercise. Be careful and look after your body. Avoid eating less than 2 hours before and 30 mins after exercise. Use appropriate shoes and clothes. Start with a warm up and end gradually. Cool down after aerobic and strength building exercises before doing stretches for flexibility. Strength building exercises should be done on alternate days. 

Avoid overtraining:

Overtraining involves extreme amount of exercise done over a short period. Here, volume and intensity of exercise exceeds recovery capacity. High intensity exercise in the gym may cause more harm than good. More than 5hours of high intensity exercise per week is too much. Listen to your body. If you feel fatigue, dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath or back pain it’s time to stop the exercise. 


Physical activity is important to burn fat from your body. You need it to burn the excess calories stored in your body. Aim at moderate intensity exercise more than 30 minutes daily. Seize every opportunity you have to walk briskly and be active