Best Exercise for Weight Loss
Even though exercise is promoted by most weight loss program, few are aware of the real impact of exercise on body weight. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the effects of physical activity on body metabolism and to develop realistic, educated expectations regarding how much energy you can burn by exercise.
You Need Much More Exercise Than You Think To Lose Weight
The human body is extremely efficient when it comes to burning fuel. Much more efficient than a car. How much more?
Some of the most performing cars today boast with a 44 miles per gallon performance. One gallon of gasoline contains about 31,000 calories. In contrast, a 150 pounds person burns only 4,300 calories to run 44 miles. To burn an entire gallon of gas worth's of calories, this person would have to cover more than 316 miles by running! In other words, running is over 7 times more efficient than the engines of the top-rated cars on the market today! If our hypothetical person would decide to burn the 31,000 calories by walking at a 20 min/mile rate instead of running, he or she could cover almost 400 miles! The "fuel" would last for no less than 132 hours of continuous walking. Imagine how much more terrain this person could travel burning the same amount of calories by cycling...
The above examples testify to the fact that our muscles are amazingly efficient when it comes to burning calories!
Does Exercise Help in Losing Weight?
First of all, exercise alone is not a enough if you want to lose weight. Several studies have shown that most people are not able to lose weight if the only thing they do is mild to moderate intensity exercise. The average weight loss in these studies
was 0.22 pounds per week, which is quite discouraging for most people. Aerobic exercise causes a modest loss in weight without dieting.
One would have to exercise quite vigorously to lose significant amounts of weight. As an example, military recruits
lost an average of 1.4 pounds per week during an intensive training program.
Before you decide exercise useless for weight loss, I hasten to add that physical activity plays a critical role in weight control, along with diet. Here is why:
- Exercise causes a greater reduction in total body fat than diet alone. In other words, exercise changes your body composition: you lose fat and gain muscle. Even thought the final balance may not be impressive in terms of total weight loss, you are still a winner. And if looks bother you, take heart! Your body becomes more toned, your waist gets smaller as you lose abdominal and visceral fat, your face looks healthier and you DO look better!
- If you are a woman, exercise is an excellent prescription for you, especially if you are going through menopause. A recent study found that regular exercise such as brisk walking results in reduced body weight and body fat among overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
- If exercise does not fair exceedingly well for weight loss, it is essential for weight maintenance. Weight gain is an all too common experience after we diet. Exercise is the secret to staying slim, as this study has very elegantly shown.
- For men, exercise produces more weight loss than in women. For reasons not entirely clear, for the same amount of exercise, men lose more weight than women.
How Much Exercise Do I Need to Lose Weight?
Everybody is different, and as stated above, there are differences related to gender, too. Generally speaking, you should strive to burn at least 1,000 calories by exercise per week. For a 150 lb person, this is equivalent to walking briskly for at least 30 minutes every day.
As you become more fit, you should increase your exercise duration and intensity to a level closer to 2,000 calories per week or more.
Do I Need Special Exercise Equipment to Lose Weight?
If you are willing to invest in expensive exercise equipment, the market is saturated with options: from the Weslo Exercise Bike
, Total Gym exercise
sets to the Bowflex Select Tech
, to name just a few, the choice is yours. Before you spend a fortune on these devices, though, a word of caution. Burning calories can be as effective with walking or other more accessible forms of physical activity, as long as you do it regularly.
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