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exercise helps you lose weight

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:

  • 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: 

  • 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.

lose weight faster

Why You Lose Fast Faster if You Lift Weights

Strength training is the key to improving your metabolism, shedding fat, and getting the body you want. If you want to lose fat faster, then it’s time to add strength training to your routine.

If you despise running and all forms of cardio to lose weight, then there’s great news for you.

Although running is commonly suggested as one of the first types of exercises to start doing if you want to lose weight, it’s not the only option. And it’s not even your best option.

In all the dieting and exercise you’ve done on your weight loss journey, how much of it has been strength training?

Strength training is actually one of the best kinds of exercise to do if you want to lose fat faster. 

Building more muscle is the key to lose fat faster

Strength training is how you build muscle on your body.

Whether you lift weights or do bodyweight exercises, any exercise that’s intended to make your muscles stronger is a strength training exercise.

And when you build strength, your body composition changes in ways that make it easier to lose fat.

Your body composition is your ratio of lean tissue to fat tissue on your body. And your lean mass is basically anything that’s not fat.

As you build muscle, your body requires more energy to sustain it. Even at rest–which means your resting metabolism increases when you have more muscle. 

In fact, one pound of muscle tissue burns 3x more calories than one pound of fat.

So if your body uses more calories to fuel muscle than fat, then the more muscle you have the more calories you burn—even at rest. And your body will start to break down those extra fat stores for fuel between meals.

Now, the downside is you may feel more hungry. This means it’s still so important to follow a healthy diet that’s high in proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs. It’s also a good idea to count your calories until you get into a rhythm to do more intuitive eating for your needs.

Because to lose weight you still need to be in a calorie deficit each day.

You still can’t out-exercise a bad diet

Despite how wonderful strength training is for your metabolism and your ability to lose fat, you still have to maintain a healthy diet. 

In fact, diet alone is going to lead to greater weight loss than exercise alone—simply because it’s easier to cut out enough calories to be in a deficit than to burn enough calories through exercise and work yourself into a calorie deficit.

So in the short term, diet is especially important to start losing weight by getting into a caloric deficit.

But that doesn’t mean you should only diet and not exercise. Because the studies show that if you want to lose weight and keep the weight off, combining exercise and diet leads to more long-term weight loss far better than diet alone.

But if you want to lose weight more efficiently and build the body you’ve always wanted to have —one that is strong and lean, then weight training is essential to include in your routine.

Does cardio also help with weight loss?

Of course! Any type of exercise that helps you burn more calories than you take in helps you lose weight.

But if you only focus on cardio your heart health and entire cardiovascular system will be in tip-top shape.

But what you won’t achieve is the same balance, stability, strength, and bone-density results that you get from strength training.

All of these are essential to maintain a high standard of living and improve your health. And that’s what you get from strength training.

So the next time you think that burning more calories on the treadmill will get you closer to your weight loss goals than lifting some weights, remember how important it is to build muscle! And think about how you can factor both modes of training into your routine.

The lowest recommendation for strength training each week is two days. But 3 or 4 is even better—especially if you want to lose weight faster.

If you need help with your full diet and exercise weight loss plan, we’re here for you.

At Valley Medical Weight Loss, we do more than specialize in medical weight loss options.

Our doctors are experts in weight loss using holistic options like diet and exercise too. While many of our patients use FDA approved injections and supplements to help achieve their weight loss goals faster, there are plenty of others who don’t.

We help all of our patients learn and develop healthy lifestyle habits to see a drastic improvement in their health and wellbeing. And they learn how to lose the fat and keep it off. 

To start your weight loss journey with compassionate professionals who create personalized programs to fit your needs—reach out to your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss Center today to book your first appointment.

Sources

  1. “Does Strength Training Really Increase Metabolism?” ACAP HealthWorks, 22 Sept. 2017, www.acaphealthworks.com/strength-training-increase-metabolism/.
  2. Donald Hensrud, M.D. “Exercise or Diet: Which Works Best?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Feb. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/weight-loss/faq-20058292#:~:text=Which%20is%20better%20for%20weight,fewer%20calories%20than%20you%20burn.
  3. Miller, WC, et al. “A Meta-Analysis of the Past 25 Years of Weight Loss Research Using Diet, Exercise or Diet plus Exercise Intervention.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, www.nature.com/articles/0800499

The Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Get the most weight loss benefits out of your time spent exercising

If you’re going to start exercising with the goal of losing weight, then you want to choose the most effective exercise for weight loss.

That’s not to say you should do a type of exercise you hate. It’s important to find something you love so you feel happy to have exercise as part of your routine.

But if you’re newer to exercise, or just haven’t in a while, then you may be wondering what’s the best exercise for weight loss.

Well, you’re in luck, because there’s not just one best exercise to lose weight. There are plenty of options to choose from.

So if you’re looking for something to try for your new weight loss plan, give these calorie-burning exercises a try first to figure out what exercise you enjoy most.

Exercises to burn the most calories:

When your goal is to lose weight, you want to find exercises that burn the most calories.

Or in other words, make you to use the most energy to get through the exercise and recover from it.

The key is to get your heart rate up and keep it elevated for as long as is safely possible.

For that reason, cardio workouts are the best for losing more calories in one training session.

So it should come as no surprise then that many of the exercises we list here for weight loss are cardio-based.

Below are some of the best workouts to burn the most calories:

Running:

It’s likely that the first type of exercise that comes to mind when you think of cardio and losing weight is running.

Even looking at pictures of runners, you can assume that running must be great for keeping weight off–most of them are so thin!

So it’s true that running is great for your heart health and for burning calories.

Depending on your pace you can expect to burn between 648–960 calories in one hour of running.

That’s a ton of calories.

Swimming: 

Swimming is fabulous because it’s great exercise but doesn’t always feel like it. The water lets you feel weightless and able to move freely. Plus, if you love the water there’s something soothing about it too.

So it’s exciting that something so fun can also be such a great exercise for weight loss.

You can burn anywhere from 369–588 calories in one hour of swimming.

Cycling:

Whether you sign up for a spin class or take out your bike for street riding, this is a great exercise for weight loss.

There are plenty of people who swear by their cycling classes, not just for the calories burned, but also for the energy and enthusiasm infused in every session.

Depending on your rate it’s possible to burn 420-622 calories in a one-hour session.

HIIT:

HIIT workouts are one of the best options if burning the most calories is your goal.

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. And the way it works is you do shorter workouts ranging from 20-40 minutes. During these workouts, you alternate between high bursts of energy and longer rest periods.

So for example, you do might 30 sections of high-intensity exercise followed by 45 seconds of rest before you start the next 30-second round. This is the usual pattern of a HIIT workout.

How many calories can this type of exercise burn for you? Around 450 calories in 30 minutes.

That’s right—almost as much as running burns in an hour. 

It’s honestly staggering how great HIIT is for burning calories. And it’s a big part of the reason why it’s become so popular all over the country.

And another great thing about HIIT is that it’s possible to combine cardio and some strength training in one workout. So you get the best of both worlds.

Because there are major benefits of strength training and building muscle to help you lose weight. 

Want to burn more calories at rest?

Exercising at all will help boost your metabolism. So your body will start burning more energy even when you aren’t active.

But there’s one type of exercise that improves your metabolism above all others: strength training. 

When you lift weights (or use bodyweight) to build muscle you make it possible for your body to burn more calories at rest.

How?

Because muscle uses more energy than fat.

The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories your body uses—even at rest.

So if you want an exercise that does more for you throughout the day and not just when you’re exercising, then make sure you include strength training in your routine.

But you don’t need to lift weights every single day to see these effects.

Even two or three times per week is enough to see improvement over time. 

Need your exercise to be low impact?

But you may be thinking that some of the activities are too intense for where you’re starting out. And that’s okay—we all come from different starting points and have different needs.

That doesn’t mean exercise is impossible for you.

You can start by simply walking.

Walking is the best place to start if exercise feels unattainable for you.

Will you burn quite as many calories in an hour as other forms of exercise? Of course not. But you can burn around 186-276 calories when walking at a moderate pace for one hour. It’s definitely possible to burn even more than that depending on your pace and how far you choose to walk every day. 

And you will be amazed by what’s possible when you start walking and stick with it over time.

It works when you’re consistent and patient with yourself and your body. But the results do come. 

Making Exercise Consistent Is Key

While you now have an idea of the best exercise for weight loss, that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to do activities you don’t enjoy.

If you hate running, or any other type of exercise listed here, it’s not going to be the best way to lose weight for you.

The most important thing when it comes to exercise is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy most.

It could be dancing, tennis, golf, basketball, hiking, or any number of other activities. The key is to find the right exercise for you. And the weight loss will follow in time.

When you work with us at Valley Medical Weight Loss we help you get a plan for exercise that works for you and your goals. We pair your exercise plan with a diet plan and check-in to make sure you get the best results possible. 

Learn more about working with a weight loss doctor who can help you make your weight loss goals a reality.

Sources:

  1. “12 Exercises That Burn the Most Calories.” Healthline, 2019, www.healthline.com/health/what-exercise-burns-the-most-calories#at-home.
  2. Glantz, Jen. “5 Women Explain How Walking Helped Them Finally Lose the Weight.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 22 Oct. 2019, www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/g19917712/lose-weight-by-walking/. 
exercise

Exercise and Weight Loss: Do You Burn More Calories in the Morning?

Last post, we briefly discussed the importance of exercise for maintaining weight loss. If you’ve been paying any attention at all, the fact that proper eating and regular exercise help you lose weight (and keep it off) is really no surprise at all; but we wanted to go a little bit further. Did you know that WHEN you exercise may also have an effect on your weight loss and ability to burn fat?

A study published in The Journal of Physiology in 2010 reported that working out first thing in the morning before you ate breakfast may actually set you up for increased fat burn throughout the day as well as boosted energy. The study looked at three groups of healthy men with different exercise routines. All participants were asked to follow the same diet structure – 50 percent more fat and around 30 percent excess calories. The first group of men didn’t exercise at all; the second group of men exercised after breakfast; and the third group of men worked out before breakfast. The study lasted six weeks and the exercise routine was the same.

After the six weeks, the group of men who didn’t exercise at all gained around 6 pounds each (not surprisingly).  The group of men who exercised after eating breakfast gained about 3 pounds each. The group of men who exercised before breakfast didn’t gain any weight; but that’s not the only important finding. Researchers also found that the men who didn’t exercise or exercised after breakfast developed some insulin to resistance (a condition that can eventually lead to diabetes) while the insulin levels of the men who exercised before breakfast stayed healthy.

So now you may be wondering – WHY? What’s the benefit of working out pre-meal?

Well, one benefit is that it forces the body to tap into stored fat to fuel the workout rather than just simply burning off the carbohydrates and calories that you just took in from your most recent meal. The daylight of an early morning workout may also give your metabolism a boost. When you align your circadian rhythm – the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that respond to light and dark – with the natural rise and fall of the sun, you tend to burn more calories throughout the day.

The moral of this story is this: Combining regular exercise with a healthy diet is important; and while working out at any time of the day is beneficial, working out before breakfast may give you the extra boost you need to lose more weight and keep it off.