Exercise for Weight-loss: Understanding the Connection

Woman stretching in workout gear outside

When trying to lose weight, many people focus only on what they eat and forget about the importance of physical activity. However, including exercise in your weight-loss plan is crucial for achieving and maintaining long-term success. Let’s explore the connection between exercise and weight loss and provide you with some tips on how to make exercise a part of your daily routine.

The Connection Between Exercise and Weight-loss

Exercise plays a significant role in weight-loss because it helps burn calories and build muscle mass. When you burn more calories than you consume, your body enters a state of negative energy balance, which usually leads to weight-loss. Additionally, building muscle mass can increase your metabolism, meaning your body burns more calories even when you’re at rest.

Studies have shown that exercise can be an effective tool for losing weight. A review and analysis published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (1) found that people who combined exercise with diet lost more weight and kept it off longer compared to those who only focused on their food intake.

Types of Exercise

When it comes to losing weight, any form of physical activity can be beneficial. However, some types of exercise may be more effective than others. Aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or cycling are excellent for burning calories and improving cardiovascular health. Strength training exercises such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises are important for building muscle mass and also help improve bone strength!

Incorporating Exercise into Your Daily Routine

  • Set realistic goals: Start with small goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you become stronger and more capable.
  • Find an activity you enjoy: Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, challenging, or time-consuming. Find an activity you enjoy, like dancing, hiking, or playing sports, and make it a part of your daily life. For example, take a ten-minute walk before every meal or dance in the kitchen while preparing dinner!
  • Schedule it in: Treat exercise like any other appointment and add it to your calendar. This will help you stay accountable and make it a regular part of your daily routine.
  • Get a workout buddy: Exercising with a friend or family member can make it more enjoyable and provide accountability and motivation. Even if they don’t live nearby, you can still schedule a weekly video walking date with someone you want to spend more time with using your cell phones.
  • Make it convenient: Find ways to make exercise more convenient, such as working out at home or finding a gym or fitness center close to your home or workplace. Dedicate specific time to go there and show your body some love.

Adding exercise to your weight loss plan is crucial for long-term success because it helps burn calories, build lean muscle mass, and increase your metabolism. Remember to start small and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. The most important thing is to find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your daily routine.

Johns DJ, et al. Diet or exercise interventions vs combined behavioral weight management programs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of direct comparisons. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114,10:1557-68.

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