Do you have to exercise for weight loss? There seem to be conflicting opinions on this but most would agree that a combination of eating right and exercise is the best approach to losing weight.
You can compare our bodies to very fine tuned machines that use whatever we put into them to operate. If we put junk into our bodies, we can still go on, but not in the most optimized fashion. In a nutshell, our bodies run on blood sugar (glucose).
Exercise plays an important role because it leads to a depletion of blood sugar in our blood stream which then causes fat cells to release fat to replace it. Our body then uses this fat for energy instead of just storing it. And that’s how exercise for weight loss fits in.
There are a couple of myths that need to be dispelled right away.
- Exercise means going to the gym every day for at least an hour (or something similar)
- You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want and then exercise to make it go away.
Let’s start with the first one. In order to be effective, exercise must be performed regularly. If you honestly believe that you can go to the gym every single day to work out for an hour, then that’s fine. Most people find this a stretch. But they feel that it must be done.
So, they will dive into their exercise routine for a week or two and then get completely burned out and quit. Wrong. Your exercise routine should consist of doing something that you enjoy (or at least don’t mind too much) in a consistent fashion. Does it have to be every day? No. But it must be something that you can stick to regularly (three to five times a week is something to shoot for).
You should try to get a combination of aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise which gets your heart rate up and strength building exercise such as weight lifting. Exercise burns calories and speeds up your metabolism.
While exercise will make you hungrier, it shouldn’t be an excuse to eat the wrong kinds of foods all the time. How often do you hear people say “Well, I’ll eat this piece of pie and work it off later”? That’s fine occasionally and you can afford to splurge every once in a while when you maintain a consistent activity routine.
But what you put into your body is even more important if you are exercising. The right foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, fatty fish, etc) will give you more energy and keep you feeling good. The wrong types of foods (excess fats, processed foods, too much sugar, etc) will only inhibit the effectiveness of your exercise and weight loss plan.
Consistent exercise for weight loss will get you the kind of results you are looking for — a slimmer self for life.