Weight Loss Through Exercise

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups.

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever style of weight loss program a person undertakes, a regular exercise program will benefit the individual, both through additional calorie use, and through building and maintaining muscle mass.  Regular exercise can also maintain health through boosting metabolism, reducing depression and anxiety, managing stress and the regulation of blood insulin levels.

The basic premise of successful weight loss dieting is that the body burns more calories per day than it takes in.  While control of diet is an important part of this, projecting a 500-1000 calorie per day deficit between calories consumed and calories burned, aerobic or cardiovascular exercise helps to ‘rev up’ the body’s metabolism, build and maintain muscle mass and through these mechanisms burn additional calories.

There are many types of exercise readily available to everyone, from everyday household/yard chores, walking, stair climbing, jogging, planned exercise routines, fancy in-home exercise machines, etc. all the way to expensive spa/health club memberships.  There are also a multitude of books and videos available at any bookstore or online that can add variety and diversity to exercise program.  Just making a few simple choices in your life; using the stairs rather than the elevator at work or while shopping, taking a walk at lunch time rather than sitting, going for a bicycle ride in the evening rather than watching television, can make a difference in your fitness level and ability to burn calories.

Exercise research indicates that the most effective fat-burning exercise routines require a minimum of 60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity per session, ideally with the target heart rate zone being maintained for at least one hour.  Of course, the dieter’s basic fitness level has to be taken into consideration when planning exercise routines but with time and effort the personal fitness level can be built up to the optimum 60 minute plus routine.  As the human body rapidly becomes accustomed to routine, and thus expends minimal calorie burn on familiar routines it is helpful to have several exercise routines available and to frequently vary them.

Other effective calorie-burning activities available are step aerobics, martial arts training, stationary (or non-stationary biking), swimming, team sports, circuit training (a series of exercises), interval training (routines that vary exercise speed and physical demands), etc.  If a person does not have the time, access, or fitness level to engage in these types of activities, taking two or more brisk 20 minute walks per day will both burn calories as well as increase cardiovascular fitness.

Basically, combining sensible and appropriate exercise with dieting can optimize weight loss and increase physical fitness.  There are many types of exercise available that are readily accessible and create enough diversity that exercise does not have to be a tedious chore, but rathercan become an enjoyable range and variety of physical f activities.

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