Working out is one of the most important aspects of your weight loss journey. You may think that you don’t have time to work out, but you do! You just need to make it a priority.
The benefits of exercise include better sleep and moods, increased energy levels, and improved self-esteem. In addition, exercise helps you control your appetite so that you’re less likely to eat unhealthy snacks between meals.
Exercise also increases your metabolism which means that even if you don’t lose weight during an exercise session, your body will still burn more calories over time because it’s working harder than usual to repair itself after an intense workout session.
So what kind of exercise should you be doing? Anything! Anything at all! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive—just something that gets you moving!
Right here on Buy and Slay, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on benefits of losing weight, how much exercise to lose weight, what happens if you exercise without dieting, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
How Important Is Exercise For Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be wondering how much you should be exercising and what types of exercise you should be doing.
At its simplest, losing weight means burning more calories than you consume. So, it makes sense to include exercise in your routine, since it helps you burn more calories.
However, vigorous exercise can also help you work up an appetite. This may cause confusion about the role of exercise in weight loss and whether it can help.
So, what exactly is the purpose of exercise if you’re trying to lose weight? This article takes a look at the evidence to help you find the answer and figure out what’s best for you.
Cardio exercise and weight
One of the most popular types of exercise for weight loss is aerobic exercise, also known as cardio. Examples include:
Aerobic exercise doesn’t have a major effect on your muscle mass, at least not compared to lifting weights. However, it is very effective at burning calories.
A 10-month study examined how cardio without dieting affected 141 people with obesity or overweight. Participants were split into three groups and not told to reduce calorie intake.
Those who burned 400 calories per cardio session (5 times per week) lost 4.3% of their body weight, while those who burned 600 calories per session (also 5 times per week) lost a little more, at 5.7%. The control group, which didn’t exercise, actually gained 0.5% of their body weight.
Other studies also show that cardio can help you burn fat, especially the dangerous belly fat that increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
That means adding cardio to your lifestyle is likely to help you manage your weight and improve your metabolic health, if you keep your caloric intake the same.
Doing aerobic exercise regularly can increase the number of calories you burn and help you lose body fat.
Strength exercise and weight
All physical activity can help you burn calories.
However, resistance training — such as weight lifting — has benefits that go beyond that. Resistance training helps increase the strength, tone, and amount of muscle you have.
One study of 141 older adults with obesity examined the effects of cardio, resistance training, or both on body composition during a period of intentional weight loss. This study found that those who did no exercise or cardio alone lost fat but also lost more muscle and bone mass than the groups that did resistance training.
So, resistance training appears to have a protective effect on both muscle and bone during periods of reduced calorie intake.
Higher amounts of muscle also increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories around the clock — even at rest. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it requires more energy.
This also helps prevent the drop in metabolism that can occur alongside weight loss.
Because of this, doing some form of resistance training is a crucial addition to an effective long-term weight loss plan. It makes it easier to keep the weight off, which is actually much harder than losing it in the first place.
Lifting weights helps maintain and build muscle, and it helps prevent your metabolism from slowing down when you lose fat.
High intensity interval training and weight
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise characterized by short bursts of intense exercise followed by a brief rest before repeating this cycle. HIIT can be done with cardio or resistance training exercises and provides the benefits of both.
Most HIIT workouts are only 10–20 minutes long, but they offer some powerful benefits in regard to weight loss.
One 2017 review of 13 high quality studies found that HIIT and cardio exercise provided similar benefits — namely, reduced body fat and waist circumference — for people with overweight and obesity.
However, HIIT exercise achieved these same benefits with a 40% time savings compared to cardio.
Because of the intensity of HIIT, you should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new HIIT routine, especially if you have known heart concerns.
HIIT may offer similar benefits as cardio exercise, with about half of the time commitment.
Exercise and appetite
You’ve probably heard that physical exertion is a good way to work up an appetite, or maybe you even found yourself eating more than usual after a vigorous workout.
However, most research points to exercise having an appetite suppression effect.
One study in 20 active, healthy adults noted that they ate more food in the meal prior to a workout than after — and actually found that, overall, participants ate less food on the days they exercised than the days they didn’t.
In another study in 26 women with obesity on low calorie diets, researchers found that short HIIT sessions had a strong appetite suppressing effect.
Researchers have also noted that morning exercise appears to be more beneficial for energy balance and calorie intake than evening exercise — further supporting the theory that exercise can reduce appetite.
Regardless, more research is needed, and hunger responses to exercise are likely highly individual. If you’re trying to lose weight but tend to eat more than usual after vigorous or long exercise sessions, consider shorter durations (like HIIT) or less intense exercise.
Exercise may make you more or less hungry; however, research mostly points to exercise having an appetite reducing effect.
Other benefits of exercise
Exercise is really great for your health in many ways, not just in terms of weight management.
Regular exercise can improve your blood sugar control and may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Exercise also helps you to maintain and grow your muscle mass, keep your bones strong and dense, and prevent the onset of conditions like osteoporosis — which is characterized by bone brittleness.
Additionally, exercise offers some mental benefits. It can help you reduce your stress levels and manage stress more effectively, and it appears to offer some protection against neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep these benefits in mind when you consider the effects of exercise. Even if it doesn’t make a huge difference for weight loss, it still has other benefits that are just as (if not more) important.
Exercise is about way more than just weight loss. It has various powerful benefits for your body and brain.
Because of its numerous health benefits, exercise should absolutely be a part of your routine — regardless of your weight goals. In fact, most successful weight loss maintainers listed in the National Weight Control Registry, who have lost at least 30 pounds (14 kg) and kept it off for at least 1 year, report exercising for at least 1 hour per day.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans outline ideal exercise amounts for all ages to help optimize health. For adults, they are:
- Aerobic (cardio) exercise: 150–300 moderate intensity minutes or 75–150 vigorous intensity minutes per week
- Muscle-strengthening (resistance) exercise: 2 or more days per week of exercises utilizing all major muscle groups
However, if your goal is weight loss, you should prioritize diet over exercise because it will have a much larger impact. If your time is limited, consider resistance training (rather than cardio) to help maintain your muscle mass and metabolic rate or HIIT to help you achieve a similar calorie burn as cardio in less time.
Additionally, don’t depend just on the scale to track your progress. If you are gaining muscle while losing fat, your weight may not change as quickly as you’d like it to — however, you’ll be healthier for it. Consider taking your measurements as well, and keep track of how your clothes fit. These are much better indicators of fat loss than weight alone.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and 2 resistance training sessions per week for optimal health.
The bottom line
Exercise is important for overall health, and different types of exercise may offer different advantages when it comes to weight loss.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may particularly interested in resistance training, which can preserve your fat-free mass and increase your calories burned at rest, and HIIT, which provides the same benefits as cardio, but for less time.
But remember, with a goal of sustainable weight loss, it’s also really important to follow a modestly calorie restricted diet comprised mostly of whole foods.
Benefits Of Losing Weight
Whether you want to lose 10 pounds or 50, shedding extra weight is tough. If you’ve tried before and fell short of your goal, it can be hard to stay motivated.
But you don’t necessarily need to lose a ton of weight to experience health benefits, says Mir Ali, MD, a bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center.
In fact, research shows losing as little as 5% of your body weight can improve your health in many ways. Here are 10 proven health benefits of weight loss and tips for how to lose weight safely.
1. Helps regulate blood sugar and diabetes
Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, says Preeti Pusalkar, a certified clinical nutritionist with Hudson Medical Center, a primary care provider in New York City.
Excess body fat leads to an increase in adipose tissue, which causes inflammation and interferes with the function of insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Weight loss reduces adipose tissue, which allows the body to manage blood sugar more effectively. Plus, you don’t have to lose that much weight to see results. Research has found that just a 5% reduction in body weight improved blood sugar levels in adults.
2. Improved heart health
Losing weight can also improve heart health by reducing pressure on arteries, meaning the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through the body. The result is lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — the “bad” kind of cholesterol that can increase your risk of heart disease, Pusalkar says.
And it doesn’t matter if you lose weight through diet and exercise or weight-loss surgery like metabolic surgery — you’ll reap benefits regardless, according to a large 2020 study.
Researchers examined the effects of weight loss surgery on obese patients who either had weight loss surgery or who lost weight through lifestyle changes. The risk of heart disease for the surgical group decreased after a 5% to 10% loss of body weight while the nonsurgical group saw a decrease after losing about 20% of body weight.
3. Decreased risk of stroke
Excess weight can increase blood pressure, and therefore your risk of stroke. This is because high blood pressure puts a strain on your blood vessels, making them stiffer and more likely to cause blood to clot.
“Losing weight helps improve the efficiency of the heart due to less constricted blood vessels,” Pusalkar says.
4. Better sleep
Overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea — a disorder characterized by disrupted breathing while sleeping. Excess weight can increase fat deposits in your neck, which can obstruct your airways.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, losing weight likely won’t entirely cure the condition. However, losing just 10% to 15% of your body weight can improve sleep quality and reduce the severity of sleep apnea in moderately obese patients, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
5. Improved mobility
Losing weight alleviates pressure on knees and joints, which can improve mobility, Pusalkar says. A large 2012 study of obese adults with type 2 diabetes found as little as a 1% drop in weight cut mobility limitations, such as difficulty walking or climbing stairs, by more than 7%.
6. Higher self-esteem
While there is no direct correlation between weight loss and self-esteem, some studies show that weight loss can improve mood and self-confidence.
A 2014 review examined 36 studies to determine the psychological benefits of weight loss. Researchers found consistent improvements in body image, self-worth, and general well-being among subjects who lost weight.
7. Decreased joint pain
Excess weight can cause joints to become stressed, damaged, and inflamed — but losing weight can help.
A 2018 study examined obese adults with arthritis pain in their knees. Researchers found that losing 10% to 20% of body weight resulted in less pain and improved joint function than losing just 5% of body weight, which did not show any significant joint pain benefits.
The reason likely has to do with how quickly joints wear down when under additional stress from excess weight. “As the smooth surface at the ends of bones, or cartilage, becomes damaged and worn, you feel pain and stiffness in the joint,” Pulsalkar says.
8. Boosts energy
Because weight loss can improve sleep, you might also feel more energized during the day, Pulsalkar says. Excess weight also means your body has to work harder to move. Therefore, shedding some pounds means you use less energy to move. It also improves respiratory function, which can also make you feel more energized.
9. Higher sex drive
While research on the correlation between excess weight and sex drive is still emerging, weight gain has been shown to increase sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in your blood. This can lower free testosterone levels and decrease your libido, Pulsalkar says.
10. Reduced risk of certain cancers
According to the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be the cause of about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men. Obesity increases your risk of developing several different cancers, including:
- Endometrial cancer
- Breast cancer (in women past menopause)
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
The exact link between excess weight and cancer is still unknown, but researchers believe inflammation due to visceral fat — the fat surrounding vital organs — is to blame. Losing weight could lower your risk of developing these cancers.
Some people may need to lose significantly more weight to experience some of these benefits, Ali says. But for the most part, losing as little as 5% of your body weight can lead to many health benefits, like improved heart health and decreased risk of diabetes. But, before starting any weight loss program, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the right plan and goals for you.
How Much Exercise To Lose Weight
The importance of exercising when trying to lose weight cannot be denied. Diet and exercise both are an essential part of a weight-loss routine. We all know that to lose about 500 grams in a week, we have to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories every day. However, this alone won’t help you much, unless you exercise for a fixed amount of time.
Some people exercise too much and end up straining their muscles, while others do too little to notice any positive result. In this article, we will reveal how much should an average adult exercise daily to shed kilos efficiently.
The ideal time
As per a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), performing moderate to vigorous exercise for 150 and 250 minutes of each week is necessary to lose weight. But they also added that exercising for more than 250 minutes is better for quick weight loss.
The organisation further revealed that engaging in moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 to 250 minutes per week, that’s roughly 22 to 35 minutes each day, can help you lose moderate weight.
Performing moderate to vigorous exercises for more than 250 minutes per week (about 35 minutes per day) is associated with more substantial weight loss.
However, if a person cuts down his calorie intake moderately and exercise for 150 minutes to 250 minutes per week, he will be able to lose weight more quickly.
Exercises and timing
But the timing also varies according to the exercise you choose to do and your actual weight. It is not necessary to go to the gym to shed kilos. You can do other activities like cycling, running, swimming to come to shape. Here are some exercises you can do to lose 500 grams in a week.
Running: 40 minutes per day
Walking: 2 hours per day
Swimming: 40 minutes of vigorous swimming per day
Biking: 1 hour per day
Aerobic exercises: 1 hour each day