Dieting by itself doesn’t work. You must exercise to lose weight. In an editorial published in Cardiology, professors from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University have evaluated the totality of evidence and conclude that regular physical activity bears the closest resemblance to a “magic bullet” to combat the worldwide epidemic of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

You Exercise To Lose Weight – But You’ll Get More Than That!

exercise to lose weight

Exercise confers important health benefits beyond losing weight. Regular exercise reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Staying active reduces your risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Exercise improves arthritis pain, depression, energy, sleep, and even your sex life!

People Aren’t Exercising Enough

Only about 20 percent of Americans get an adequate amount of exercise.

Two thirds of Americans do no exercise at all. Physical inactivity accounts for approximately $24 billion in U.S. healthcare expenditures each year.

“There are a lot of misperceptions about the role of regular physical activity, caloric intake, and calories burned during exercise,” said Dr. Steven Lewis. “Calorie restriction (“dieting”) has been recommended as more practical for weight control than regular physical activity, and this is a big problem.”

Starting in their 30’s, Americans and Europeans tend to gain between 1 and 3 pounds of body weight per year, and by age 55, many are 30 to 50 pounds overweight.

Exercising To Lose Weight

You don’t need a complicated exercise program to start increasing your activity levels. You don’t have to hire an expensive personal trainer. Just start by moving more every day.

Physical activity is necessary for weight maintenance. Weight gain “creep” can often be reversed by adding a modest amount of exercise. Most individuals can accomplish this by simply walking 30 minutes every day.

Simply walking for 20 minutes a day burns about 700 calories a week, and results in a 30 to 40 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease. A more comprehensive (and effective) fitness program should also include resistance exercise such as lifting weights.

Here are some more notes about why you must exercise to keep your weight under control:

  • The more strenuous the exercise, the longer the body continues to burn calories before returning to its resting level. This state of calorie burning can last for as little as a few minutes after light exercise, to as long as two days after high-intensity workouts.
  • More difficult exercise (higher intensity exercise) – if you can do it – yields more health benefits. Here’s a good article showing that one minute of intense interval training inserted into a workout that was, in total, 10 minutes long, produced comparable health and fitness benefits to 45 minutes of more moderate, uninterrupted steady-state cardio exercise.
  • Resistance (strength) training is the best exercise for reducing fat and building muscles. It should be performed two or three times a week.
  • Moving more at work can be very helpful in keeping the pounds off. Regular exercise is certainly the best course, but for people who must sit for hours at a time, frequently shifting positions while sitting may have some benefit. Stand up whenever possible. Stretch here and there. Don’t forget to breathe! Take 2 minutes and climb a couple flights of stairs in between meetings or projects.

Anything is better than nothing. Move more and be healthier!

Get Exercise Help from a Personal Trainer

If you’d like to discuss ways to get effective exercise to lose weight, eat healthier, and become healthier, contact Basics and Beyond fitness & nutrition. Certified personal trainers and nutrition counselors are available to help you, both in-person and online!