Exercise is important when trying to lose weight

Of course, no one could deny that regular exercise is good for your health at any age or any condition. However, it is especially important if your goal is to lose body fat and optimize your lean body mass/fat ratio.

When you are trying to lose body fat, physical activity increases the number of calories that your body uses. When you combine that with consuming fewer calories you will lose body fat because of the deficit.

In truth, most fat loss occurs because of decreased calorie intake. I’ve many times through the years told my clients that you can exercise until your blue in the face, but if you don’t get the food part under control, you won’t lose that much fat. You’ll be stronger, have better balance and flexibility if that is in your program, better endurance and all that, but you won’t lose that much fat.

Now, when a very experienced and educated fitness trainer tells you that, you know it has to be true. You need to look at both ends of the equation in order to be successful in losing fat. The other benefits of exercise besides assisting in fat loss and gaining strength, balance and flexibility, is the reduction of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure, several types of cancer and diabetes type 2 risk.

This is not to mention that exercise helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis (and yes, this is not just a woman’s disease) reduce the symptoms of depression, and anxiety, as well as reduce the discomfort from arthritis and the associated disability it manifests.

Exercise helps to also maintain your body weight once you’ve achieved your optimal weight. Although once you’re at your optimal weight, it is difficult to predict the exact amount of exercise that you will need to maintain your weight, and of course your weight fluctuates by a few pounds every day due to water and food intake.

So best to always weigh yourself at the same time of day on the same weigh scale under the same conditions. Usually, it is recommended that you do about 150 minutes of moderate intensity each week to maintain your weight status. Moderate exercise examples include walking briskly (a 15-minute mile), light yard work such as raking, active play with the kids, biking or hiking on the bike path, dancing or doing an aerobics class, for an hour, golfing (you need to walk and carry the clubs to qualify), or doing a light weight training workout.

Most of these activities will burn between 180 to 370 calories per hour for a person weighing around 155 pounds. For those who weigh more, the calories burned per hour will be somewhat higher and for the smaller person, the calories burned will be less. While engaging in moderate exercise your breathing and heart rate should be noticeably faster than at rest, but you can still carry on a conversation with no difficulty.

In order to lose body fat you obviously need to get conditioned first and you will start at a light level of exercise progress to a moderate level and then to a vigorous level. You may become so “hooked” on the great feeling that vigorous exercise instills in you that you will want to stay there or even take it up to the max.

To lose body fat you simply need to move and eat appropriately. Vigorous exercise examples include jogging and running, swimming laps, rollerblading, cross country running, jumping rope and most competitive sports.

For a person weighing 155 pounds, an hour of running will burn 590 calories. So you need to think about that, because when you take a look at many foods that you may be consuming — like a burger — you realize that you would literally have to run full tilt for an hour to account for it. And that’s not including the fries and the drink!

It takes a lot of work to get rid of the calories. Better to modify the intake and then not have to spend so much time and effort to get rid of it! An hour aerobics class will burn about 480 calories for a 155 pound person. Vigorous weight lifting will burn about 440, and bicycling at a rate of at least 10 mph will burn about 590.

My best advice for you if you are trying to optimize your lean body mass/fat ration is to eat strategically and exercise sensibility. If you need help getting starting on this goal of you want to fine tune your program as always give me a call and I will help. Aloha!

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Jane Riley is a certified personal trainer, certified nutritional adviser and certified behavior change specialist. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, (808) 212-8119, www.janerileyfitness.com

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