How Exercise Helps Weight Loss?

exercise and weight loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering how much exercise you should do and what type of exercise you should do. However, vigorous exercise can also help boost your appetite. This can lead to confusion about the role of exercise in weight loss and whether exercise helps. So, what exactly is the purpose of exercise if you want to lose weight? This article examines the evidence to help you find the answer and figure out what works best for you.

Why is it Important to Exercise?

Exercise is important for many reasons.

It helps strengthen bones and muscles, and increases the amount of energy we use.

When looking at exercise and weight loss, incorporating more physical activities into your life means you will use more energy and burn more calories, which should help you achieve a reduction in weight and BMI.

While you should aim to reduce calories, you should also remember that it is important to get all the nutrients your body needs and not burn too much of your body’s energy, as it needs some to perform its daily tasks and body functions.

When you exercise, you should still eat a healthy and balanced diet so that your body still gets all the nutrients it needs to function.

On top of managing your weight and BMI, exercise is important for you to build strength and endurance and to keep your body moving.

Many people with obesity struggle with exercise due to excess weight, but gradually increasing physical activity can help reduce this excess weight, and as your fat shrinks, your muscles should grow as well.

Muscle strength is important for your body because muscle helps support bones and organs, and while muscle is heavier than fat, it is healthier for your body.

In terms of weight, exercise has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight over time, and it’s something you should make time for every day, even if that means getting off the bus one stop early or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator.

All increases in physical activities are positive, and the less time you spend being sedentary, the better it will be for your health. 

What Types of Exercise Should I Do?

Any exercise that causes the heart and lungs to expend more energy than usual is ideal. Some suggestions include walking, biking, jogging, swimming, fitness classes or cross-country skiing. There are also ways to exercise during everyday activities, such as mowing the lawn or playing with children.

Some other suggestions:

  • If you are a man over 45 or a woman over 55 and you don’t exercise, or if you have a medical condition, ask your doctor if there is any type of exercise you should avoid.
  • Start slow and use something that is easy on your body like walking or swimming. Work slowly and comfortably so you don’t strain your body.
  • At least two or three times a week, do strength training to varying things up.
  • Stretch all muscles at least twice a week after exercise to improve flexibility and prevent injury.

How much am I Burning?

This list shows the estimated number of calories burned in one hour doing various exercises. This is to give you an idea of the relative number of calories burned by a person weighing 160 pounds (73 kg) doing various activities.

The exact amount of calories burned varies greatly depending on individual characteristics such as exercise, intensity level and weight.

Activity (1-hour duration)160 lbs. (73 kg)
Aerobics, low-impact365
Aerobics, water402
Bicycling, < 10 mph, leisure292
Dancing, ballroom219
Elliptical trainer, moderate effort365
Golfing, carrying clubs314
Running, 5 mph606
Skiing, downhill314
Swimming laps, light or moderate423
Walking, 3.5 mph314

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has a myriad of benefits – physical, mental and emotional health. Experts now say that a sedentary lifestyle (with little or no exercise) is at least as bad for your body and long-term health as smoking. Incorporating regular exercise into your life can help you lose weight, but it also helps:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack; it can also help prevent heart disease from getting worse
  • Reduces your risk of developing high blood pressure and can lower blood pressure in some people with hypertension
  • Reduce your risk of high blood sugar and diabetes
  • Improves overall cholesterol values by raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lowering LDL (“bad” cholesterol) as well as triglycerides in the blood.
  • Improve the function of your heart and lungs
  • Reduce stress and the physical and mental effects of stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Decrease your risk for getting osteoporosis
  • Prevent some types of cancer
  • Improve the quality of your sleep
  • Increase your energy
  • Focus your attention

When you consider the tremendous health benefits of exercise, it’s clear that even though exercise alone is not a foolproof solution to weight loss, it does help control weight and its power to improve health and prevent disease is amazing. So, even if you don’t lose a lot of weight from exercise, your body will benefit in other ways. 

How to Start Exercising?

As we’ve already mentioned, there are several types of exercise, all of which are important for a healthy life, but it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re new to physical activity.

First, you might want to think about the activities you enjoy or the sports you want to participate in.

When you do a sport you enjoy, you are more likely to want to do it.

Next, you may want to think about what kind of budget you have.

The great thing about exercise is that it can be free because your body is your main tool for working out.

If you enjoy going to the gym, then you may want to pay a monthly membership fee, but if that is offensive to you or your finances don’t allow you to join a gym, there are many free ways to increase your physical activity.

If you don’t normally exercise much, it’s best to start gradually and gently so you don’t overexert yourself too quickly.

It’s better to build strength and endurance slowly than to over-exercise and go days without exercise.

Incorporating more activity into your daily routine can be as simple as making a few more trips up the stairs to get your heart rate up, or taking an evening walk around your neighborhood.

You can also do things like take a longer route to get somewhere or put on some music to dance to.

There are so many different ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life, and with so many free ways to exercise, it should be something everyone can do if you are a healthy and able-bodied adult.

The Bottom Line

Exercise is important for overall health, and different types of exercise may offer different advantages when it comes to weight loss.

But remember, in order to achieve sustainable weight loss goals, it is also important to follow a moderately calorie-restricted diet, which consists primarily of whole foods.

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