Thirteen ideas for weight loss which work

Friday, February 20, 2009
Image: Getty
Open your mind and trying a more exciting way to get fit and shed the kilos.

1. Learn to surf
Surfing takes great leg control and core stability (not to mention arm and leg exercise from paddling hard). You'll burn about 17 kilojoules a minute.

2. Beach yoga
Ever done yoga on a soft-sand beach with the waves crashing and sea breeze wisping through your hair as you gaze at the sunrise? Breathtaking! Depending on which type of yoga you try, you can burn an average of 21 kilojoules a minute.

"The more active types (Bikram, ashtanga, power and vinyasa) are going to be more toning/fat burning. while the slower types (Iyengar, Sivanada) will be more meditative and relaxing. There are all benefits in both types though — you can still 'tone' in an Iyengar class for example," says personal trainer and yoga instructor Kristi Lees.

3. Wash your car — yourself
On a sunny day, wash and vacuum your car instead of taking it to a car wash. Squat down to the tyres and lower parts of the car (for as long as you can) for a lower-body work-out.

4. Dance
How about belly dancing, hip-hop, disco, ballroom, Latin, or, for something different, Bollywood? Of course, how much fat you will lose depends on how intensely you dance (so get jiggy with it!).

5. Go for a hike
Grab your hiking boots, some water and healthy snacks and hike up a mountain. The fresh air will be refreshing while all that hard yakka will burn about 40 kilojoules a minute.

6. Plant an autumn vegie garden
Now this is no easy feat! You need some serious muscle power, a lot of repetitious movements, but the good news is it gets your heart rate pumping. Heavy digging can burn around 30 kilojoules a minute.

7. Go water skiing
Great for your upper strength and quadriceps, water skiing gives you a thrill while burning 30 kilojoules a minute.

8. Skip (with a rope)
Skipping rates as one of the most high-intensity work-outs around. Find a nice patch of pavement outside and start jumping! Make sure you have comfortable and supportive shoes on or you'll place too much pressure on your feet. Fast skipping burns about 60 kilojoules per minute.

9. Learn a martial art

Learn how to defend yourself while shedding the kilos. Try karate, kick boxing, Muay Thai boxing, Krav Maga (the one Israeli soldiers learn) or Brazilian jujitsu. All those kicks, punches and grappling sessions with have you burning 30-42 kilojoules per minute.

10. On ya bike!
Cycling burns 17-42 kilojoules per minute, depending on the intensity. Pedalling fast increases cardiovascular fitness, while pedalling slowly increases your strength.

Tip: When cycling, always use the entire saddle. Move your body forward to pedal faster, or sit in the middle for normal-pace pedalling. To avoid injuries, lean towards the rear of the seat when going up hills or slowing down to stop.

11. Walk (everywhere!)
Walking increases your blood flow, raises your heart rate and boosts aerobic fitness. The long strides when walking up hills provide a natural stretching effect. Walking warms and works your muscles (without straining them) as well as the lower back.

Athletes Trevor Hendy and Samantha Riley say this in their book, Shape up Australia: "Walking is one of the best activities for losing weight as it can be done over a long time at a heart rate that is comfortable, but will burn fat from your body, especially the areas that are being used: butt, legs, waist, abdomen and arms. You will lose weight far more effectively than in a one-hour high intensity step class."

12. Try interval training
Interval training involves working out at a steady pace for a certain amount of time, but then includes bursts of high-intensity exercise. An example of an interval training running work-out is if you were to run along the street, you could run/jog at an even pace past two telegraph poles, then sprint to the next pole, alternating this routine, and then finishing up with a 20-minute cycle.

13. Go for a run
Running is fantastic for weight loss, but hold off on this one if you've got any knee problems.

The kind of surface you run on affects how your body reacts (and in turn, loses weight). In true summer style, run on soft sand to work the lower parts of your legs, calves, and Achilles tendons to burn around 42 kilojoules a minute.

Supplements for weight loss

  • Ginseng — boosts metabolism, helps the liver break down fats
  • B vitamins — metabolise carbohydrates and proteins
  • L-carnitine — uses your fat stores as energy during exercise
  • Chromium polynicotinate — regulates blood sugar swings
  • Chickweed — breaks down stubborn fat deposits
  • Psyllium husks — cleanse your system. Take in between meals with lots of water.
  • Brought to you by Blackmores.

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