Leading an active life is essential for losing weight and not regaining it. When you are more active, you burn more calories, which can make it easier to lose weight. This article explains how to control your weight with exercise.
Why does weight matter?
Most people are worried about their weight at some point in their life. You may have struggled with your weight intermittently for years, or your weight has steadily increased. If you are overweight or obese, you are not alone: more than 2 billion people in the world are in the same situation. But being overweight or obese may increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Not only that, it can also cause shortness of breath as well as joint pain and back pain. It can even cause sleep problems or low self-esteem.
Why do you gain weight?
You gain weight if you consume more calories in foods and beverages than you burn. To maintain a constant weight you need to spend the same amount of calories you eat. To lose weight the calories you ingest should be less than the calories you burn.
It’s easy to be less active than you should. Spending a lot of time in front of the computer or television, or working in an office may mean that you use less energy than you need to burn to maintain a healthy weight.
|Calories ingested||Calories spent||Outcome|
In practice, it is difficult to control exactly how many calories you eat and drink. One way to make sure you do it correctly is to monitor your weight and try to maintain your body mass index (BMI) within healthy values. The BMI does not apply to all people. If you have a lot of muscle mass, you may have a BMI above 25 but with little adiposity. Similarly, if you have low muscle mass, you can have a lot of adiposities even if your BMI is in a healthy range. Use our online BMI calculator here.
Why exercising is important?
It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Staying physically active can improve your health by lowering high blood pressure, raising “good” HDL cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of developing certain types of cancer. It can also make you feel happier and boost your self-esteem.
If you are overweight, losing just a small amount of weight is beneficial to your health. If you are overweight or obese, the best way to lose weight is to combine a healthy and balanced diet with exercise on a regular basis. Physical activity burns calories, so the more activity you do, the more weight you lose. It will help you lose fat without losing lean tissue (mainly composed of muscles).
Choose to lose weight gradually: about one or two pounds (0.5 to 1kg) per week. Reduce your overall calorie intake by approximately 500 to 600 calories per day, targeting, for example, an intake of 1,500 calories for women and 1,800 calories for men in addition to exercising regularly. If you are very overweight, you may find that you lose weight quickly in the first few months: do not be discouraged if the pace slows down over time. When you start exercising you may notice that your weight goes up at first, this is because before you lose fat, you increase muscle mass.
All adults should do 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week or more. But you may need to do 45 to 60 minutes every day to avoid gaining weight. And you should continue exercising even when you have lost weight, needing to perform about 60 to 90 minutes of activity per day to avoid regaining weight.
Does it seem too much? Do not worry, you do not need to exercise for 60 minutes at a time to get the benefits. You can divide the amount of time during the course of the day. If you have not exercised for a long time or if you think this amount of exercise is intimidating, you can start by doing 30 minutes a day, divided into three 10-minute sessions. As you have more strength and energy you can gradually begin to increase the time.
The best tips
- You can achieve your goal by adding activity to your daily life. Walking is good because it costs nothing. Try walking to the shops instead of going by car, or use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- It is important that you reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. You burn very few calories watching TV or sitting at a desk.
- Combine aerobic training with which you will burn fat, such as running, with resistance exercises, such as lifting weights, to increase muscle mass.
Counting the calories spent
The calories you burn during exercise will depend on your body weight, age, fitness level and the type of activity you do. The following table shows the average number of calories burned by a 60-kg person 30 minutes of different physical activities.
|Type of activity||Calories burned|
|Cleaning and removing dust||75|
|Painting and decorating||90|
|Running (10 minutes / mile)||300|
|Running (7.5 minutes / mile)||405|
You may find that some days will make it harder for you to exercise than others. There are several things you can do that will help you stay motivated.
- Make exercise fun: doing the activity with a friend or listening to music can help.
- When riding a bicycle, walk or jog, take different roads. This will help make your activity more interesting and will keep you from getting bored.
- Keep a diary of your activity and you will see your progress and how much you have achieved.
- Set short and long-term goals.
Once you start to lose weight and become more active, you will find that you can do more at greater intensity. It is important that you remain physically active and continue to eat a healthy diet after you have lost weight to make sure you never regain it.
- Try to keep your body weight within the healthy range for your height.
- If you are overweight, you will need to do more physical activity than the recommended goal of 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, five or more days a week.
- Try to combine more physical activity with less food to lose weight.