You can lose weight with exercise alone?
Nobody is going to tell you that exercise is not a good thing. It offers many health benefits – better sleep, reduced stress, improved strength and muscle tone, and it puts you in a better mood. It also burns calories. So it makes sense that increasing physical activity be part of the weight-loss formula. But exercise as a weight-loss method has limitations. This chapter explores the effectiveness of exercise and its role in weight loss and maintenance.
Most diets fail because they focus on the wrong thing. Successful weight loss is not really about food; it is about exercise. The main focus of a weight-loss effort should be exercise because it will make the pounds come off faster and the loss will be maintained. With all the technological changes in our daily lives, most of us are not getting enough exercise. People, especially guys, start gaining weight in their late 20s, then continue to gain weight into their 30s and 40s as work and family take up more of their time. With less time to exercise and be active, of course they gain weight. So it makes sense that getting back into exercise will melt away the pounds. The commitment to exercise is not very demanding. Getting to the gym just a few times a week will make a huge difference in weight loss. And the more time spent at the gym, the faster the pounds will come off. It should take only a couple of hours a week for the next two or three months to lose the weight that has accumulated over the past ten or so years. Going to the gym tones the body, flattens the stomach, and firms the thighs. It changes the shape of the body. Losing weight through dieting can’t do that. So even if the pounds on the scale stay the same, that is okay; it just means that the fat is turning into muscle. The amount and intensity of activity determines its health benefits.
Moderate-intensity exercise is recommended for weight loss and also improves your cardiovascular fitness. High-intensity exercise performed continuously for at least twenty minutes is recommended mainly for heart fitness. People who are more than 30 pounds overweight should not exercise at an intense level without talking to a doctor. Light activity burns only a modest amount of calories but offers numerous benefits. It generally does not burn enough calories to aid weight loss unless it is performed for a long period of time.