Exercise and Weight-Loss
Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss. It helps to control your weight by burning excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat. Physical activity also helps prevent many diseases and improve your overall health.
Your weight is determined by the number of calories you eat each day minus what your body uses. Everything you eat contains calories, and everything you do uses calories, including sleeping, breathing, and digesting food. Any physical activities in addition to what you normally do will burn those extra calories.
Balancing the number of calories you expend through exercise and physical activity with the calories you eat will help you achieve your desired weight. The key to successful weight loss and improved overall health is making physical activity a part of your daily routine. This is the reason the Why Weight Ireland weight-loss plan WORKS. The plan gives you the perfect tool to calculate your food intake as well as the tool to calculate the calories burnt through exercise.
The Health Benefits of Exercise
Research consistently shows that regular exercise, combined with healthy eating, is the most efficient and healthful way to control your weight.
In addition to helping to control weight, research shows that regular physical activity can reduce your risk for several diseases and conditions and improve your overall quality of life. Regular exercise can help prevent:
- Heart disease and stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL (“good” cholesterol), and lowering LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.
- High blood pressure. Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Diabetes. By reducing body fat, physical activity can help to prevent and control type 2 diabetes.
- Back pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise can prevent back pain.
- Osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.
Regular physical activity can also improve mood and the way you feel about yourself. Exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.
Types of Exercise
It does not matter what type of physical activity you perform — sports, planned exercise, household chores, gardening, or work-related tasks – they all count!
Over the past few years, exercise advertisements have targeted simplified exercise routines for weight loss and maintenance. Some exercise advertisements sell the belief that one machine will work your entire body and give you the results you need. However, many of these machines may only be good for one type of conditioning, such as cardiovascular; these machines also have limitations to the type of exercise you can do and they are not good for everyone. To determine the best type of exercise program for you, when joining Why Weight Ireland you will be sent a Fitness & Lifestyle Questionnaire and once filled in I would be able to fully determine which fitness routine is suitable for you.
How Much Exercise Should I Do?
When exercising for weight loss your body does not start burning fat until 20minutes into your exercise – so you should aim for at least 25 (but preferably more) minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise to achieve a fat burning result. Studies show that even the most inactive people can gain significant health benefits if they accumulate just 20 – 30 minutes or more of exercise or other physical activity per day.
For the greatest overall health benefits, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (see below) most days of the week plus some form of toning or muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least two to three times a week.
If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.
Aerobic exercise is any activity involving large muscles, done for an extended period of time, that makes the heart and lungs work harder. Aerobic exercise can be done for weight loss, but it also provides cardiovascular benefits. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, biking, jogging, swimming, aerobic classes, and Zumba.
Moderate-intensity activities include some of the things you may already be doing during a day or week, such as gardening and housework. These activities can be done in short spurts — 10 minutes here, 8 minutes there. Alone, each action does not have a great effect on your health, but regularly accumulating 30 minutes of activity over the course of the day can result in substantial health benefits.
To become more active throughout your day, take advantage of any chance to get up and move around. Here are some examples:
- Take a short walk around the block.
- Do some gardening
- Play actively with the kids
- Walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift
- Get up and stretch or walk around on your lunch break
- Park your car a little farther away from your destination and walk the extra distance.
- Cycling to work or shops instead of driving
The point is not to make physical activity an unwelcome chore, but to make the most of the opportunities you have to be active. It will only benefit you in the long-run 🙂
Before You Start Exercising
Before starting any exercise program, be sure to speak with your GP. He or she can offer suggestions about which type of program would be best for you or warn you of any physical limitations you may have.
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