How Exercise Helps Control Your Weight

You don’t need to go to the gym to do exercise.  It can be done in the comfort of your home, or backyard. You may even already be doing some, without realizing it.

Exercise is defined as any activity requiring physical effort.  It includes anything from walking, to hiking, to gardening, surfing, horseback riding or even going up the stairs. Exercise is an integral part of health and wellness and a significant component of weight management or weight loss.  So if you’re trying to watch your waistline, then you should be doing some exercise too.

Research consistently shows that the best weight loss-prescription involves healthy eating along with regular exercise. Although it’s entirely possible to lose weight with changes to your diet alone, adding exercise can facilitate the weight loss on top of improving your overall health.  Exercise might help you overcome what’s known as a “weight loss plateau” which typically results from changes in the diet alone. You progressively lose weight for the first few weeks and then all of a sudden you’re stuck at the same weight for weeks on end (even though you haven’t changed what you were doing).

Balancing the number of calories you expend through physical activity with the calories you consume through food and drink can help you achieve your desired weight.  The problem is sometimes we underestimate the number of calories in certain foods, or overestimate the calories burned from certain exercises.

A combination of cardiovascular and strength training exercise can help boost your metabolism and help shed pounds by burning more calories, but also by increasing your muscle mass.  Exercise increases muscle activity. To have metabolically active muscles, you do not need to have large muscles, just active ones. The more your muscles work, the higher your heart rate goes, the more calories they burn (even after the workout!). Both cardiovascular and weight training can provide this benefit as long as the intensity is medium to high (that is, to the point where your heart is pumping hard but you can still carry a conversation).

Ultimately, exercise should be a part of your healthy lifestyle.  Finding an exercise or physical activity you enjoy is key to making it part of daily living and thus reaping the benefits for a lifetime.  This way it doesn’t feel like a chore and you look forward to doing it while managing your weight and improving your overall health at the same time.

  • Here are some more tips to read before starting your exercise routine.
  • Did you know exercise benefits more than your waistline? Check out the top 7 benefits of exercise!


By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian

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