How Exercise Helps You Lose Weight and Improve Your Overall Health
Exercise helps you lose weight and is one of the best changes to your lifestyle you can make for your health.
When it comes to weight loss, we often focus on diet more than anything else. There is, of course, a reason for that. A healthy diet is the most influential aspect of maintaining a healthy weight.
What also helps, however, is exercise. When combined with diet, exercise can help you attain a body composition that makes you feel good. Not only that, but strength training and cardiovascular exercise also drastically improve your overall health.
How exercise helps you lose weight
Combining diet with exercise helps you lose weight. Weight loss happens primarily due to reducing calorie intake. That is why diet is so essential. But exercise is also helpful when it comes to losing weight, because it helps your body burn more of the calories you eat. Exercise helps your body burn more calories than you would burn when at rest.
In addition to helping burn calories through activity, exercise also changes your metabolism.
Your metabolism is the process your body goes through to turn food into energy. Your metabolism is controlled by a number of hormones and influenced by lifestyle factors and health conditions. Exercise improves your metabolism by helping you burn more calories more efficiently. This is especially true as you build more muscle. The more muscle you have on your body, the more energy your body requires.
Exercise helps prevent chronic health conditions
While improved weight is one of the major benefits of exercise, there are other worthwhile benefits as well. Below are just a few of the additional health benefits of exercise:
- Improved heart health
- Helps reduce certain types of cancer like breast, colorectal, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, and prostate, just to list a few
- Reduces chances of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Reduces bad cholesterol levels
- Improved bone density
- Reduces hypertension
- Improves brain health and memory
- Improves skin health and has anti-aging benefits
Exercise improves daily life quality
Aside from preventing chronic conditions and diseases, exercise also improves the quality of your day-to-day life. One of the biggest ways it does this is by making it easier to move around and balance.
When you combine stretching or yoga as a type of exercise in your routine, you also improve your flexibility. While exercise alone can improve your mobility (or how easily your body moves and balances), recovery activities like stretching improve your flexibility as well.
Flexible muscles and mobile joints are less likely to feel stiffness and pain, as well as less likely to sustain injury. That’s why it’s important to always remember to work have a well-rounded outlook towards exercise in your lifestyle. Combining flexibility and mobility work with strength training and cardio is the way to achieve the best health outcomes.
What becomes easier when your mobility and flexibility improve?
- Walking up and down the stairs
- Carrying groceries
- Keeping up with kids and grandkids
- Ability to perform more strength and cardio exercises
On top of making it easier to move, exercise also has an impact on our emotional and psychological health. Exercise, and the increased flow of oxygen it promotes, helps you feel more awake and alert throughout the day. Not only that, but it also promotes greater energy levels throughout the day by improving overall sleep quality.
As far as emotional health, exercise also improves mood and helps reduce and manage feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
How much exercise to see improved health
Just 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week improves your overall health in measurable ways. Ideally, 30 minutes of movement every day should be your aim to see faster improvements in overall health and weight.
It should be noted however that health conditions that arise as a result of a sedentary lifestyle won’t go away overnight. A condition that took many years to develop with also needs many months to a few years to work back from. But that’s not to discourage anyone from starting. Even before attaining your goals, you are likely to feel improvements in your energy levels, mood, body composition, and more even if you haven’t achieved your weight or health goals from increasing your activity levels.
Here are some tips to make attaining 30 minutes of exercise each day a bit easier:
- Do what you like: Find an exercise you enjoy, it should be something you look forward to doing each day
- Keep things varied: You can mix up the types of exercises you do to avoid repetition and boredom
- Exercise with others: Join a group class or get a workout partner so you can push each other and hold each other accountable; for many people, working out with others who are going through the same things you are can make exercise more fun
- Remember your many options: Remember that 30 minutes of movement can be anything–walking the dog, running, biking, hiking, swimming, yoga, or playing pickleball
- Take it slow: If you haven’t done exercise in a long time, don’t pressure yourself to do anything intense from the start–begin slowly to build your endurance and avoid injury
- Listen to your body: Even if you have been exercising regularly, don’t feel like every single workout has to be intense to see results–learn how to listen to your body and know that some days you will take it slow and do a light workout instead of a high-intensity workout
Types of exercise
- Strength training is also referred to as resistance training. This type of exercise helps you build stronger muscles and build your muscle endurance. The most common exercises for strength training include using bodyweight resistance (like pushups and pullups) or barbells and dumbbells.
- Cardio is an exercise intended to improve the performance of your heart and lungs. These kinds of exercises help build your endurance and allow you to remain active for long stretches of time. Common exercises include running or swimming.
Is there an exercise that combines the two? A lot of exercises will work both your cardiovascular system and your muscles. For example, although swimming is technically considered cardio, it helps build your back muscles substantially.
The most effective combination of strength training and cardio is HIIT, which is short for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a type of exercise that alternates periods of intense activity with short moments of rest. The movements done are often chosen to work on building muscle, but because of the intensity and duration of the workout, it works your cardiovascular system also.
Start your weight loss plan with diet and exercise
Exercise helps you lose weight and improve your overall health. Movement is such an integral part of every facet of our health, that although it’s important to find a way to make it a regular part of your routine. Even if you feel out of shape. Even if you have not exercised in years, or maybe never exercised much at all. Everyone can start somewhere.
At Vally Medical Weight Loss, we can help you create a diet and exercise plan to achieve your health and weight loss goals.
Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When combined with a healthy diet, you can lose weight even faster and feel more energized than before.
To find an ideal exercise regime combined with a personalized diet plan, contact your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location today.
By Hannah Isaacs
December 22, 2021