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Is your movement right for you?

With Libby Weaver

Is your movement right for you?

Does exercise invigorate or exhaust you? Do you get weight loss results from your exercise or does the body fat seem to stay there no matter what you do? In my first book Accidentally Overweight I discussed the importance of balance in your lifestyle and diet but the same also applies to your exercise. If your life is stressful and you turn to a stressful form of exercise such as intense cardio, you may encourage your body to burn glucose instead of your fat stores. When your body is burning glucose you can tend to crave glucose and subsequently cravings for sugar, typically the refined type, increase. Who doesn't want the slow, even burn that occurs when you're accessing your fat stores? Just as there is an abundance of albeit well meaning dietary information you can become overwhelmed when delving into the topic of exercise and how to move your body in a way that suits you. The answer truly lies with you. It is your response to training, rather than the training itself that is important.

Incorporate exercise that you actually enjoy. If you don't like running don't force it. Take a long stroll around the block or by the sea instead. Utilise your surroundings and enjoy the feeling of moving your body. Try a bike ride or an activity you've always wanted to try such as dance classes. Even gentle movement will benefit your health and if you are enjoying it you are more likely to make a commitment to it.

Consider the expectations you place on yourself. So often I hear people say they don't exercise because they used to be an athlete, runner or at least a lot fitter than they are now. Their sheer frustration prevents them from doing any exercise. Start small if that feels good for you. You're not going to become a marathon runner overnight but you don't need to become one either. Consider trying another form of exercise such as restorative yoga, Pilates, tai chi or any other activity that focuses on breathing. When you spend your day in sympathetic nervous system dominance (with the fight or flight response activated) your body is crying out for rest and repair, which involves the activation of your parasympathetic nervous system. Focusing on your breath is the easiest way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your body to access its fat stores.

Weight bearing exercise is of particular importance to women as it improves the strength of muscles and bones. Building muscle also increases your metabolic rate. Walking, hiking, dancing, skiing and weight training are all examples of weight bearing exercise. Exercising in the morning is an ideal way of waking your body up naturally. Starting make a conscious effort to move in a way that suits you. Include at least one session of a relaxing style of exercise a week to balance your nervous system. Patients of mine have changed from intense cardio on most days of the week to starting their day with tai chi 5 days a week and lost weight. Exercise can be a key aspect of weight loss, provided you do it in a form that serves your own individual needs.

For more information, join Dr Libby for her powerful, informative and beloved Essential Women's Health Weekend May the 19th and 20th at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland. For more information about the weekend visit <>

For more information about this topic obtain your copy of Dr Libby's latest book, Rushing Woman's Syndrome available at and all leading bookstores.

(Broadcast: 21 May 2012)