Exercise and Weight Loss

There have been volumes writing on exercise and weight loss so the information here will be nothing new but maybe just some original thoughts injected into the mix.   The best exercise for weight loss isn’t a certain formula, set of exercises, or even high intensity interval training.  What you can and will do is the best exercise for weight loss.  You can own all the exercise DVDs in the world, be a member of the best gym in town, have access to personal trainers and have a home gym that everyone including the San Francisco 49’s envies, if you don’t do it/use it, it doesn’t matter.  It is a scary notion that 55% percent of adults are either obese or overweight in the United States.

The cold fact is that you lose weight by creating a calorie deficit whether you are doing Weight Watchers or another program; you have to create that deficit.   Most plans are based on creating that deficit by reducing the amount of calories you take in via smaller portions.  A way to create a greater calorie deficit is by doing a one two punch of not only taking in less food but increasing the amount of activity/exercise you do each day.  Not everyone can or even wants to hit the gym every day.  You can increase your activity by taking five minutes of every hour you are seated at a desk to get up and walk around just for five minutes.  Some chose to do exercises at their desk.   Just moving a little more each day can reap big results!  Do not think exercise alone will solve your weight loss issues.

It has been said that losing weight is eighty percent of what you eat and twenty percent of what you do (exercise).   Overeating even healthy foods will not help your weight loss.  Getting enough rest/sleep can help you lose excess fat.  Not getting enough sleep can promote the retention of fat.  Incorporating healthy fats in your daily diet can help promote the loss of excess fat.  Eliminating one entire food group is the basis for many popular “fad” approaching to dieting.  Bottom line, these do not work in the long run and can cause health issues.  Many who followed the “no carb” diet found themselves suffering from gout or facing lab results mimicking a diabetic.  Your diet (what you eat) has reflect what you like/enjoy.  If you do not like what you are eating, you will not continue to eat those foods.  Eating a balanced diet of real natural foods provides you with good nutrition and there is no need for pills, powders, potions and shakes to lose weight.  Healthy weight loss comes from the eating real food in proper portions, exercising your full body and being consistent in both diet and exercise.

One of the most popular trends in exercise is to think that by strength training you can really boost your metabolism.   Research has proven that if you add one pound of muscle, it will burn five to ten calories extra a day which can be done by something as simple as chewing gum.  I wonder if talking burns calories too, you have to move your jaws muscles to talk! J  Hands down cardiovascular exercise is the best way to burn extra calories.   Fitness experts agree that successful weight loss is keeping it off not just losing it.   The recommended amount of cardio exercise in a week is at least 200 minutes per week.  If you are just starting to exercise start by shooting for a much smaller weekly total of something like, fifty minutes of exercise a week.

The most effective fat burning exercises combine cardio with resistance.  What is the best workout?  First quick answer, the one you will do.  The best workout doesn’t require a gym or lots of special equipment or gadgets which targets your whole body and gets that heart rate up and that you can do 2-4 times a week.

Research has shown over and over again that the combination of exercise with a proper diet is much more effective than either dieting or exercise alone.   For seniors, this combination isn’t about increasing life expectancy as much as it is about improving the quality of life.  Aerobic exercise combined with resistance training over a period of eight months showed greater weight loss and fat loss in a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Below are tips to help you adhere to a weight loss workout and meet your goals.

  1. Everyone needs an accountability factor, if it is a friend or your faithful dog.  If it works to keep you honest, use it.
  2. Make time for yourself; schedule your time to exercise/workout/move!
  3. Ease into a regular exercise routine.  Doing too much too soon can lead to extreme soreness and a lack of interest in continuing to exercise regularly.
  4.  Start small, for example, five minutes on the elliptical and gradually increase your time or start with two-pound hand weights and only increase the weights by half a pound.
  5. Keeping a journal of your exercise will help you to see what you have done and learn ways you can push yourself a bit more each week.  Set goals and try to “beat” them or exceed your goals.  Success breeds success!
  6. Improve your cooking skills.  Cooking at home not only allows you to control what goes into your recipes/body but saves you money! And who knows, some of your friends might enjoy your new-found expertise!
  7. Increase your daily water intake and limit the amount of alcohol you consume daily and weekly.
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