Exercise Speeds Up Weight Loss

by : Kerry-Ann Crawford

Most people join the gym or begin their exercise program with high hopes. Unfortunately, most people give up within six months of starting because they are not getting the results they want. Many figure that they will get the same results by dieting alone, but the reality is that the pounds will come off significantly faster when you combine healthy eating, portion control and add an hour- long activity, four times weekly.Adding four hour-long exercise sessions per week does not have to be as hard as it sounds. The first thing to think about is that your new exercise routine will not simple be from now until you successfully lose the weight, but these activity sessions must be thought of as activities you will continue to do to maintain the weight loss. Studies have shown that nearly 90% of individuals who successfully maintain their weight loss also continued their exercise programs.

Why does exercise speed up weight loss and help maintain your weight loss? One school of thought indicates that aerobic exercises especially, are crucial for weight loss. During aerobics sessions, your body begins to burn fat after thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise. In order to turn your body into a fat burning machine you need to work out at 80-90% of your maximum heart rate (calculated by 220-age). This level of intensity in your work out will help increase your metabolic rate and help your body to burn fat even after you have finished working out. The amount of calories you will burn while exercising and in the hours after depend upon a number of variables, such as; your weight and the intensity of your workout. After doing aerobics exercises for several weeks, you will begin to notice that you clothes feel looser and that you feel healthier overall. Also, aerobic exercise has been shown to increase mood and help ease depression.

Another school of thought states that working out with resistance (that is, weight, or resistance bands) is the best way to lose weight. Once again, there are a lot of variables which will determine how successful you will be at losing weight this way. Previous research indicated that for every pound of muscle you added to your body, your resting metabolic rate would increase by 60 calories. That's a fantastic finding, meaning that if you add five pounds of new muscle, you will automatically burn an additional 31 pounds of fat in a year. By adding this muscle you will also tone your look, so whether or not the scale says differently, you body composition is going to change for the better. There is merit to this plan, even though the research has not born out the claims that each pound of new muscle burns 60 calories of fat per hour. No one knows for sure how much fat you will burn by adding muscle; it seems to depend upon your gender, your age and your past history of exercise. In the end, though, there is good reason to add weight bearing exercises to your exercise plan; regardless of the amount of additional fat you will burn, you WILL burn more fat, especially in the two hours after your workout. Also, weight bearing exercise decreases your odds of getting osteoporosis, something you haven't likely given much thought to if you are still under 60, but something you will be especially happy about when you are older.

So what should you do? Because no one can tell you for sure how much weight you will lose given either strategy, and because you need to add activity to your lifestyle for the rest of your life, the best thing to do is to add activities which you enjoy doing anyway. Promise yourself at least four, one hour activity slots per week, and PUT THEM IN YOUR CALENDAR. It's really easy to allow exercise to drop to the bottom of your to-do list, especially if you already have too much to do and not enough time. By putting the appointments in your calendar, you are agreeing to make it a priority to keep yourself healthy. Make it a priority; the same priority you would give going to work and don't let other people's needs get in the way. Then, do what you love. Try new activities; curling, squash, racquetball, spinning, biking, volleyball; the list is endless. If you choose activities you enjoy, rather than repetitive exercises on the treadmill or climber, you will have a greater chance of sticking with them throughout the rest of your life. If you have been a bit of a loner in your exercises so far, getting out and being part of a team will do wonders both for your weight loss and your soul. And the great thing is that many of these activities combine both aerobic exercise and weight bearing together. If you feel that you should have some degree of real exercise each week, add a treadmill/weight lifting session to just one of your scheduled sessions. That way, you will feel as if you are doing the "real work" of exercise while enjoying your weekly activities.

In the end, any exercise speeds up weight loss. While the jury is out on how many calories, or how much fat you will lose exactly, there is plenty of research to indicate that you will build muscle, burn more fat and feel better. What are you waiting for? Go out and start having fun! Your body, and your scale, will love you for it.