01 Apr Regular Exercise and Weight Loss
Regular Exercise and Weight Loss
Exercise is not only really great for your health, it can also lower the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. People who work out on a regular basis are believed to lower the risk of dying from many of said illnesses by up to 50%.
Whilst the effects of exercise on weight loss or weight gain can vary from person to person, most people who exercise will lose weight in the long term; some may find that their weight remains stable, but very few will gain weight.
However, when comparing diet with exercise, a change in diet tends to be the more effective method of losing weight. Yet, the most effective strategy is a blended combination of both diet and exercise.
// Weight Loss or Fat Loss?
Exercise is often advised for weight loss however, people should really be aiming to lose fat. Simply reducing calorie intake to lose weight without any exercise will probably lead to muscle loss, as well as fat.
Fewer calories and reduced fat in your diet is necessary if you’re looking to shed some weight. Add in exercise, and you increase the number of calories you burn, speeding up your weight loss. Exercising also means you are able to build muscle which helps to keep your metabolism in high gear, burning calories more readily.
// Increase Calorie Burn
To achieve greater weight loss, you need to be burning more calories than the amount your body requires to maintain its current weight. Which is why adding exercise to your reduced calorie plan will speed up your weight loss efforts.
Exercise burns calories by increasing your metabolic rate. This is because it targets fat loss rather than the muscles, which determines how fast or how slow your body burns calories. Fat is relatively static, but muscle is active and requires more energy for maintenance. This means the more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs.
One of the most popular ways of achieving weight loss is through aerobic exercise or cardio. This includes activities such as walking, running, cycling or swimming. This popularity isn’t without reason, although aerobic exercise doesn’t have a major effect on your muscle mass, it is very effective at burning calories
One U.S. study examined how cardio affected 141 overweight individuals. The people were split into 3 groups, 2 groups were tasked with burning 400 and 600 calories through cardio, 5 days a week. The 3rd group completed no cardio. Group 1, burnt 400 calories and lost 4.3% of their body weight. Group 2, burnt 600 calories and managed to lose 5.7% of their body weight. The third group who did not exercise, unsurprising, gained 0.5% body weight. Other studies also showed that cardio can help you burn belly fat in particular, which is the biggest risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So, adding cardio to your lifestyle is likely to help you manage your weight, but also improve your metabolic health as long as you do not compensate for the exercise you carry out by eating more calories.
// Weight Lifting
All, and any activity can help you burn calories, but resistance training generates benefits that go beyond that. Resistance training helps to increase the strength, the tone, and how much muscle you have, which is crucial if you are aiming for long-term health.
Inactive adults lose between 3-8% of their muscle mass per decade.
More muscle means an increase in your metabolism, helping you burn more calories around the clock, even when you’re resting! It also helps to prevent the drop in metabolism that can occur alongside weight loss.
One study found that women who followed a weight lifting program maintained their muscle mass, metabolic rate and strength, despite them losing weight. Women who didn’t lift weights did hit some weight too, but at the cost of muscle mass and a drop in metabolism.
Adding some form of resistance training is crucial to an effective and long-term weight loss plan.
// Keeping the Weight Off
Keeping weight once you have lost it can be just as hard as losing it in the first place. In fact, some studies show that 85% of people who go on a weight loss diet are unable to keep the weight off. But others are able to keep weight off for years–those people tended to exercise up to an hour per day–typically, a combination of walking and a medium-to-heavy exercise such as cycling, running, stair climbing, aerobic exercise and weight lifting.
The best method of losing weight is to find a physical activity that you enjoy and can fit easily into your lifestyle–it gives you a better chance of sticking to the plan.
Between 150 and 250 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, each week will encourage weight loss; but of course more is always better.
To achieve significant weight loss, 250 minutes per week is recommended.
If this does not work for you, bursts of High-Intensity Interval Training have been found to be more effective for weight loss than longer, intense workout outs. Individuals doing Hiit saw a 28.5% greater weight loss than people who simply exercises. But researchers caution that Hiit could increase the risk of injury and impose higher cardiovascular stress.
Just remember that every person is different and methods will vary based on your initial weight, your metabolism and your BMI, so avoid comparing yourself to others, even if they are on the exact same plan their results can be completely different.
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