A Simple Equation
Even though research shows dieting is more effective at weight loss than exercise, exercise is still an important part of the equation. Eating right is only half of the battle.
Numerous experts and countless personal testimonies agree that exercise helps you lose weight and keep the weight off for good. To put it simply, working out works. Exercise not only burns extra calories and tones muscle, but it also provides countless other health benefits. To maintain lasting weight loss it’s a lot easier to make exercise a part of your life than to continue a strict diet indefinitely.
Face the facts. If you want to lose weight—and who doesn’t?—you’ve got to get moving. Here’s what exercise does in the fight against fat.
Exercise Burns Calories
By sitting there reading this article, your body is burning calories. Calories are the energy that keeps your body moving, breathing, digesting, and functioning. When you consume more calories than necessary for these vital processes, your body stores them as fat. This is where exercise comes in. You’ve got to move, jump, run, walk, swim, and lift to burn those unused calories. Burn more than you eat and you’ll start to lose weight. The more you burn, the faster you lose.
Exercise Keeps Fat Away for Good
Successful weight loss is lasting weight loss. But how long can you survive without carbs or how long can your bank account afford a special diet program? While your goal should be to eat a healthy diet for the rest of your life, diet programs rarely last. When the dieting is over, the weight returns. Daily physical activity is the best way to keep the fat away.
Exercise Boosts Metabolism
Intense exercise sessions and gained muscle mass will continue to burn calories long after your workout ends. This is because exercise speeds up your metabolism, the rate at which your body burns calories through its basic functions. Be sure to include strength training as part of your exercise routine, since the more muscle you have, the faster your body burns calories.
Exercise Increases Energy
Many dieters complain of fatigue and a lack of energy. Exercise has the opposite effect. It improves your energy level by increasing oxygen in the blood and delivering vital nutrients to body tissues. Improved heart and lung health give you the stamina to stay active in your fight against fat.
Exercise Provides Motivation
Healthy lifestyle changes often create a chain reaction. When you exercise in the morning and your coworker brings donuts to the office, you’ll be more likely to say no. After all, you won’t want to negate all the hard work you did at the gym. These healthy choices will then lead you throughout the day and carry you to a thinner you.
Exercise Reduces Stress
How often do you find yourself eating in response to your emotions? A stressful day on the job or sad news from a friend can send you to the cupboards for your favorite comfort foods. This brings up another good thing about exercise: it’s ability to regulate your mood. Active people are less likely to be emotional eaters, as exercise provides an outlet for stress, increases production of endorphins (the brain’s “feel good” hormones, and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Reducing cortisol is important because people who have high levels of this chemical in their bodies are more likely to have belly fat.