The latest research on exercise and weight loss is turning up some
interesting trends. For the longest time exercise has been championed as
one of the most important fat burning tools available and linked to
successful weight loss. That has left countless people spending endless
hours trying to burn calories in an effort to lose weight. It turns out
that you do need to reduce excess calories to lose weight but exercise is
not the best tool for that job. It also turns out that in many cases
exercise can actually increase appetite and food intake rather than
decreasing it. So do you really need to exercise to successfully lose
weight or can you just reduce calories to get the job done?
You Can't Burn Enough Calories
Exercise is generally held out as a good way to burn calories to ensure
weight loss. But current research shows that exercise is a poor calorie
burner for most people. While it can take only a few minutes to eat 500 to
1000 calories; it requires 4 to 5 hours for the average person to "burn
off" those same calories. The average person cannot exercise 4 or 5 hours a
day so calorie reduction is the only real way to lose weight. Research
shows that exercise has an important role in assisting in reducing your
appetite (if the exercise is not too strenuous) and lowering stress levels.
Both are important in reaching a healthy weight.
Increasing Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
BMR is a measure of the number of calories you need to breathe, sleep,
digest your food, pump blood from your heart and many other vital
functions. It is a measure of how much energy your "body machine" needs to
run. The BMR of a sedentary person is almost always lower than that of
someone who exercises because of the differences in muscles mass. To
successfully lose weight, you want the highest BMR possible. The higher
your BMR, the more fuel (calories) your body needs every hour of the day.
So regular exercise does help to raise your BMR by increasing the amount
of muscle you have on your body (lean body mass).
Helping to Maintain a Healthy Weight
The latest research has also shown that people who keep their weight off
the longest or even permanently spend 3 to 5 hours a week in a regular
exercise program. Non-regular exercisers generally are unable to stabilize
their weight and gain back more than they initially lost. Regular exercise
also has a strong effect on insulin and cortisol; two important weight loss
hormones. By increasing muscle mass, exercise helps keep hormones in
balance, allows your body to utilize calories more efficient and raises
your BMR which ultimately aids in your long-term weight maintenance.
Fitness as a Health Tool
Research continues to show that a regular exercise program is still your
best health improvement tool yielding an ever increasing list of health
benefits. Lower blood pressure, more energy, elevated mood, improved sex
life and better digestion are only a handful of the benefits that come from
a regular exercise. Exercise can do more to improve your health than any
known medication or supplement. Always remember that successful exercise
programs are fun, social and sustainable over the long-term while providing
for measurable physical and mental changes.
Fitness in Its Proper Place
So appears that exercise is an important health tool aiding in weight loss
by increasing BMR, balancing hormones and reducing stress. Based on the
latest research, your exercise program should spend more time building
muscle with weights, bands and balls and less trying to "burn calories" on
a treadmill or elliptical machine. It is still important to build good
cardiovascular fitness but that can easily be integrated into a good
functional, full body exercise program.
Commit to working out the way your body works and you will see faster,
more long term weight loss with much less effort.