Exercise: Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
While focusing on healthy eating is very important as you progress along your weight loss journey, exercising is not something that should be ignored.
Here, we explain why exercise is a crucial part of your weight loss journey to success.
Burn More Fat
While counting calories will help you lose weight, regular workouts also increase your metabolic rate, meaning that after exercise, your body will burn fat and calories even when you’re resting.
This is because activity in the form of regular exercise is key to improving how your body uses and stores what you eat.
Research at UCLA shows that moderate exercise for 30 minutes each day, along with a loss of around 10lbs, changes your metabolism.
Another study by the University of Kansas showed that exercise alone can help you trim down. Participants either began a program of moderate supervised exercise or didn’t change their activity level, but neither group dieted.
Both men and women in the exercise group lost significant abdominal fat while their lean muscle mass remained the same.
This can be explained since exercise triggers the body’s muscles to use up calories rather than store them as fat.
Furthermore, maintaining muscle mass also consumes more energy for the body, which shows that, in the end, exercise can really make a difference.
Tone Up Your Body
It is typical for dieters to lose muscle when they lose weight, but not only does this make your body burn less fat and causes your metabolism to slow down, but it also means your body does not recover as well from the changes it is going through.
Losing weight without toning up through exercise means that you may reach your goal weight, but not necessarily your goal body.
To achieve a better body, you need to incorporate cardio workouts to build muscle and tone up while also incorporating weight training into at least two of your weekly workouts.
This doesn’t mean you’ll end up looking like a bodybuilder; simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lunges will help you maintain healthy body composition and also keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Boost Energy Levels
While it may seem that exercise will make you more tired, it actually has the opposite effect and really helps to boost your energy levels.
In the long term, doing exercise helps your body process food into energy more efficiently by increasing blood and oxygen flow, in turn boosting your metabolism.
Therefore, you get tired less easily and have more energy to do everything you need to do throughout the day.
Incorporating exercise into your day will help you sleep better, too, as you will naturally fall into a rhythm of sleeping at night to rest your body, meaning that you’ll be prepared for the day ahead with even more energy.
In the short term, exercise can also give you a great energy boost, as shown in a classic study by California State University.
The study compared the energizing effects on 18 people over 12 days who either ate a candy bar or went for a brisk 10-minute walk.
Walking was the clear winner; while the sugary snack initially boosted energy but left participants more tired and with less energy an hour later, walking increased energy levels for over two hours.
Improve Your Mood
As well as physical benefits, exercise also improves your psychological health; many studies show that people who exercise regularly experience a positive boost in mood, lower rates of depression, and improved self-esteem as key psychological benefits of regular physical activity.
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, which all work together to reduce your perception of pain and trigger a euphoric feeling in the body, accompanying a positive and energizing outlook on life.
In addition, after exercising, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and your muscles will relax deeper because of the workout, easing tension and stress and boosting feel-good hormones.
Achieve Long-Term Weight Loss
With the success of reaching your goal weight comes the fear that maintaining this weight long-term will be an even harder challenge.
The best way to overcome this issue is to approach your weight loss journey by focusing on the dietary and exercise changes that will lead to long-term weight control.
Research shows that a combination of diet and exercise is more likely to lead to both successful weight loss and successful weight management following the achievement of your goal weight when compared to diet alone.
This is because the focus is on establishing and continuing a healthy lifestyle rather than a quick fix of calorie counting and fad dieting.
What’s more, finding an exercise you really love to do means that you won’t want to give it up once you reach your goal, therefore maintaining your new weight will be that much easier due to the long-term changes you’ve made to your life and your health.
From this evidence, it’s clear to see that there are many benefits to incorporating exercise into your weight loss journey.
As well as being great for burning fat, boosting energy and improving your mood, the potential for maintaining your goal weight once you reach it is far greater if you combine diet with exercise.
Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and for those of you who intend to be healthy for life, exercise can really help make this goal a reality.
We want to hear from you about the exercises you have taken up since you started on your weight loss journey – do you have a different attitude to exercise now compared to before?
Please comment below and tell us all about your experiences!