Great Health Guide


for Weight Loss

- Jennifer Smallridge

Aerobic & strength training will optimise your weight

With 52% of the nation not meeting the physical activity guidelines as set by the Australian Government, and a staggering 76% failing to hit strength training targets, it comes as no surprise that two in every three Australian adults are overweight or obese. Exercise and physical activity are a viable strategy in the war against weight, however it is important to remember that what goes in the body (diet and nutrition) are extremely important. This article will specifical­ly discuss how to maximise your exercise routine for weight loss.


When we exercise for aerobic health, we are putting our cardiovasc­ular system to work. The working muscles require oxygen to create energy to contract, therefore we breathe harder and more often, pumping the heart faster, to deliver this oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. Aerobic exercise therefore is generally repetitive and is performed at a steady intensity – one which gets you ‘slightly puffing’ is a good guide if you’re just starting out. Walking, jogging, swimming, rowing, cycling and dancing are all great examples of aerobic exercise. The current recommenda­tions for health suggest 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week, however the amount required for weight loss is thought to be significan­tly higher than this. Don’t be deterred though – aerobic exercise is great for our heart and lungs and we certainly are burning kilojoules when we are training in the ‘cardio’ zone.


Resistance training, or strength training, involves using our muscles to produce and control force. Traditiona­l workouts using dumbbells, barbells and machine weights belong in this category, but you can also get creative with balls, bands, boxes and body weights to strengthen particular parts of the body. The links between increased muscle mass and metabolism have been extensivel­y researched and proven to assist with weight loss. Studies show that if exercise was an investment, strength training gives you incredible returns not only during your workout, but for 24-48 hours after the session is done! Recommenda­tions on building muscle to boost metabolism are to choose 8-10 strengthen­ing exercises and complete 3 sets of 10 repetition­s. Push ups, squats and lunges are a great place to start, each of them working multiple large muscles at a time.


As with most things in the world of health and fitness, a combined approach

Be aware that you can,’t outrun a bad diet.

is always best. One study found that interspers­ing strength exercises with aerobic exercises (e.g. circuit training) has the highest energy expenditur­e, resulting in more kilojoules burned. Thus, the benefits of both aerobic training and strength training will optimise your health. Please check with your General Medical Practition­er before commencing any new exercise regimes.


Strength training is a highly underutili­sed tool for weight loss and acts like a highintere­st bank account in the way that it rewards you after the investment has been made. If you’re not sure where to start, an

Accredited Exercise Physiologi­st is the right health profession­al for you!

Jennifer Smallridge is an Accredited Exercise Physiologi­st at Upwell Health

Collective in Camberwell, Victoria; as well as an Academic Lecturer in the fields of Exercise Science and Functional Human Anatomy.

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