Losing weight is a major concern for most people whose body mass index exceeds 25 and many find refuge on exercise as dieting becomes a thorn to their flesh. In this manuscript, we shall walk ourselves through some of the ways exercise helps us lose weight, if at all it does, and a few controversies behind exercise and weight loss.
We have had cases and testimonies on how individuals spend lots of time and energy on physical activity just to shed off some pounds but all their efforts went in vain, it (exercise) works pretty cool for others and produces satisfactory results to a few people. And with all these, many people ask if exercise truly helps us lose weight? Can we eat anything while undergoing intensive exercise and still lose weight? How much role does exercise play on our weight loss program? Why do we feel hungry after an intensive physical activity?
Physical Activity and Exercise.
Physical activity in daily life embodies sports, occupational, household, or other activities that warrant movement in our skeletal muscles at the expense of energy. Exercise on the other hand is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive with the main objective of physical fitness. Physical activity and exercise play enormous roles in our healthy life; it is worth noting that the WHO categorized physical inactivity as a potent risk factor for most chronic diseases and also the 4th leading cause of worldwide death.
Exercise and Weight loss.
Physical activity and exercise like we earlier said serve as primary prevention of close to 35 chronic metabolic disorders including obesity and diabetes. Many people who practice exercise have proven to lose body fat mass which lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).
When it comes to weight loss, there are 3 main ways our bodies burn calories, most of which is through resting metabolism (75%), secondly via physical activity (close to 30%), and minutely through the thermogenesis of food (about 10%). From these statistics, we may affirm that exercise is ready to help us with 30% of our calorie expenditure which is not a bad case as many critics place their worries on this. However, this hints us that exercising alone will not yield satisfactory results on our weight loss plan.
The following are some roles of exercise play on weight loss:
Exercise and Energy Expenditure.
Exercise increases the rate of metabolism, costing us up to 30% of our energy expenditure which consequently leads to weight loss depending on the diet lifestyle of the individual. When you practice regular exercise, the amount of energy expenditure burnt increases. This also increases your resting energy expenditure-which is the rate at which calories are burnt at the end of the training exercise and even at rest. The more you exercise regularly, say 3days per week, the more the resting energy expenditure and since resting energy expenditure makes the majority of calories (close to 70%) burnt each day any increase in our resting energy expenditure is very essential for weight loss.
Exercise and Diet.
For us to obtain healthy results on our weight loss goals, our calorie expenditure must exceed our calorie intake. If we incorporate a high caloric diet, then we should be ready to exercise for hours to burn up these calories otherwise we shall have extra calories stored as fats. You will need to take about an hour to burn off the fries and shawarma you ingested, a lady would dance for an hour to burn off the calories from 3 glasses of sweet wine, and a boy will need intensive cycling to burn just 2 doughnuts. So if our calorie intake ( from the diet we eat) is more than the energy expenditure from resting metabolism, food thermogenesis, and the numerous physical activities we incorporate in our daily life, then our weight loss expectations are bound to be disappointing.
Those who reduce their calorie intake from diets are likely to lose more weight than those who exercise more without reducing their calorie intake. In other words, it is easier to reduce 300 calories /day from diet than it is to burn the same amount via exercise. The sad story here is if you only reduce your calorie intake through diet, the tendency for you to regain the weight you lost is imminent. This is because the body responds to weight loss as if it is starving and in effect, metabolism slows down. A decrease in metabolism makes you burn fewer calories even at rest. Taking a low caloric diet and burning fewer calories or vice versa may stop you from losing weight more quickly like before or make you stop losing weight permanently. Increasing calorie intake causes you to gain more weight. So the best way to solve this myth is to increase your physical activity since it upsets the decrease in metabolism caused by low caloric diets.
Cardio Exercises and Energy Expenditure.
Cardio or aerobic exercises are one of the most popular exercise types to burn extra calories. Examples include running, elliptical cycling, jogging, swimming, walking, etc. Moderate running can make you burn some amount of calories. Long-running yields more results but take care of any muscle breakage. Jumping rope is also known to burn calories so is the climbing of stairs. People with more fat can simply move or walk.
Be careful with slow cardio exercises due to the stress it inflicts in our system leading to the generation of stress hormones, cortisol which promotes belly fat storage. Cortisol also slows the production of testosterone that is well known to burn fat. High-intensity cardio does not stress your body that much.
Fat Mass or Muscle Mass.
During calorie expenditure or reduction in calorie intake as an attempt to lose weight without exercise, muscles and fat may be lost simultaneously. A calorie deficit to lose weight by decreasing the amount of calorie intake simply leads to a given amount of weight loss from fat and muscle, as stated by experts like Heather Milton. During a decrease in calorie intake, the human body targets the fat and muscles’ proteins as energy sources which of course lead to their loss. This situation can be remedied if a good exercise program like cardio is instituted in combination with your diet. Cardiovascular exercises work on aerobic muscle fibers. This improves the extraction of oxygen without changing the muscle mass. If that is the only way you are trying to lose weight, you may still lose some muscle mass which is why diet is added alongside cardio.
Weight Lifting and Calorie Burn.
Weight lifting is a good example of resistance training. And like other physical activity, the burning of calories through weight lifting is overwhelming. There is evidence that resistance training conserves fat-free (muscle) mass at a caloric deficit milieu and also increasing your muscle strength, tone, and mass. People who practice weight lifting usually reap most benefits in the long run as non-weight lifters are known to lose about 3-8% of their muscle mass after every 10 years with addition to fat accumulation and a decrease in resting metabolic rate. And when you have more muscle mass, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and rate of metabolism increase, so is the amount of calories burnt. Thus, people who practice resistance training are more likely going to have their fat-free mass (muscles) intact or increased, conserved resting energy expenditure while losing weight. Isn’t this wonderful?
Exercise generally makes up close to 30% of our energy expenditure which is quite significant for our weight loss program and although many may obtain very poor results after practicing intensive physical activities, these individuals will have high chances of a breakthrough if they indulge on a healthy diet lifestyle alongside exercise.
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