Most doctors and health professionals will tell you the same thing when you consult them about losing weight. To achieve effective long term weight loss you will need to have a smart diet plan, an exercise routine and a change in your lifestyle (eating habits, workout habits). Studies have proven over and over that just exercising probably won’t help you lose a lot of weight. Same with dieting only, you may lose some weight but it probably won’t stay off.
For Best Weight Loss Results-Diet AND Exercise
Some people cringe at the word diet. It can hold some unpleasant meanings of food deprivation, hunger, cravings and discomfort. The same can be said when some people hear the word exercise. They will pull up thoughts of sweating, muscle aches, a sense of body embarrassment, being humiliated by all of the skinny people in the gym and other unpleasant thoughts.
While all of these emotions can be real and act as an impediment, the reality is quite different. Most good diet plans don’t involve hunger and cravings, they are usually an adjustment of what someone eats and how much they eat. The same can be said about exercise. No one is going to tell you that the only successful exercise program will involve you going everyday to a gym and working out for 3 hours. It is also about a lifestyle change and becoming more active.
Let’s look at what exercise can do for you and how it can improve your diet’s chances of helping you to lose weight and keep it off.
There is hardly ever a downside to exercise. By increasing your activity level and maintaining an exercise routine you help your body in a wide variety of ways. Exercising can reduce or even reverse some health problems such as high blood pressure and problems caused by cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol has been shown to be a positive factor in lowering the odds of a heart attack.
Exercising regularly can also help to reduce your risk of certain types of cancers. Colon and breast cancer rates are lower in people who consistently exercise. It has also been shown that depression can be lessened with a regular workout routine.
Exercise And Weight Loss
Exercise is an excellent tool to help you lose weight and to keep it off. That’s the goal of any weight loss plan and adding an exercise routine will help dramatically to keep the weight off.
When you exercise you raise your metabolism. This is the rate of how many calories per day that your body will burn off. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn and the more weight you will lose. This can also help you to maintain a leaner body and have better muscle mass. While your diet plan may be designed to help your body burn fat, exercise will help to ensure that is exactly what your body will do.
How Much Exercise Do I Have To Do?
This is where many people can get confused and discouraged. We have all turned on a TV program that has featured skinny, young fit people doing extreme workouts with someone shouting encouragement to them. The sweat pours, they frantically run/jump/bend/twist to a loud musical background and go on like this for an hour. That is not the exercise routine that we are talking about.
You need to be realistic when you are setting a workout routine. Take into consideration your age, your weight, you general fitness and any health issues. Someone with a bad back shouldn’t start out doing exercises on a mat with weights. In the same vein, if you have not exercised in years you will quickly discover that you have no stamina. After 5 minutes you are winded and discourages. Any ex-athlete will tell you how disappointed they were to find out that they couldn’t do the things they could do in their 30s now that they are 60.
While the urge is to go big and get a large loss of weight right away, the most effective plans are just the opposite. Start small but follow a routine everyday. Increase your efforts as you start to feel better and get more comfortable but always be aware of what your body is telling you. You want a slow, steady loss of weight and you want to keep it off. You want to feel the positive effects of exercise, not 2 weeks of constant muscle strain and pain.
Set Up A Workout Plan
When you add exercise to your diet plan you will increase your odds of long term weight loss. The secret is consistency, you want to exercise every day or at least 4-5 times per week. For best results you will want to do 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercises during each workout session. This can include walking or jogging, biking or swimming. If you have access to a stationary bike, ride it for 20 minutes per session.
Other aerobic exercises can be done with machines in a gym or by lifting small weights. If you want to exercise at home, pick up a small set of dumbbell weights and use them regularly. You can lift small weights while you watch TV, you don’t need to concentrate on the exercise to make it effective.
A great purchase for working out at home is an exercise mat. Sometimes called a yoga mat, they are small and portable. They help you keep you secured on the floor when you are doing exercises and help to keep your flooring clean.
One mistake made by some people when they are starting out a work out routine is to try and do too much right away. Yes, Zumba is a great program to help you lose weight and make you feel better. It also requires a minimum level of fitness and you may have better luck waiting a month or two before trying a Zumba session.
Like every part of your workout routine, what you actually do is going to be determined by your physical condition at the time. If you try exercises that are too advanced right away you will get discouraged and probably quit in disgust. If you want to use a workout video, the same rule applies. Use a video that is appropriate for your level of fitness.
There are some great fitness videos that you can use for home workouts. Some are designed for seniors, some are designed for people who have never worked out. The last thing anyone struggling to find a compatible exercise video needs is some hyper-fit trainer screaming at them from the TV. Look for DVDs that are aimed at beginners, they will usually give you a good 20-30 minute workout that will be beneficial to your health.
A Good Workout Schedule
A recent recommendation from the American Heart Association has become the standard for workout routines. Their recommendation is 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercises 5 times per week. One example would be to take two 15 minute walks per day. You have reached the 30 minute goal but have broken up the workout into 2 parts.
It’s also recommended that you add or incorporate 2 muscle strengthening sessions per week. These sessions should focus on major muscle groups and can also be broken up into smaller sessions.
Will this schedule help you lose and keep weight off? Yes, if you keep a schedule and maintain 30 minutes 5 times per week. This will help you burn an extra 100 calories per week which can translate into about 10 pounds of excess weight lost over the course of a year. That’s a nice, sustainable weight loss that is good for your overall health.