Exercise as Part of a Weight Loss Plan

Most of us are only too familiar with the eternal fight to maintain a good body shape and reasonable health. The word calories is enough to make many launch into a dialogue about their latest attempt to lose weight and regain the shape they feel they ought by rights to be in. Weight seems to be so easy to put on and far harder to lose; and with so much information and misinformation out in the public eye, it can be difficult to formulate a realistic picture of how those calories arrive around our waist and hip area and how we can get rid of them most effectively.

Forget the New Year resolutions. Do you know anyone who has made it past the middle of January with these? Losing weight and becoming fitter has to be achieved through a combination of calorie control and exercise on a sustainable basis; and sustainable means that we have to continue with our regime long term. It is no use patting ourselves on the back for having lost a stone in weight when we then revert to our habits of munching takeouts and snack food in front of the TV. That gym membership we took out needs to be renewed and we need to use it on a regular basis. Regular should really mean that we use the gym at least once or twice a week and that we exercise for around 30 minutes every day between those visits. There are usually ways that we can incorporate some form of exercise into our daily lives, whether that exercise is walking, jogging, swimming or another form of sport. Just a walk down to the local store or service station for a journal or a carton of juice can be that 30 minutes of exercise (unless of course you live next door, in which case you will have to think of a different destination).

When you consider that historically as hunter gatherers, we seldom sat down for very long; that most of our days were taken up with the basics of survival and our diets tended to be meat, berry and grain rich, our lifestyles kept us lean and fit. These days of course we have plenty of leisure time in comparison to those early men; and we only need to take a glimpse of our sedentary lifestyles, combined with the foods that find their way into our households and from there into our stomachs, to see that we have to take responsibility for our own wellbeing.

Successful Weight Loss

In order to be successful in achieving our goals, we first need to understand how the body works with calories and exercise to regulate our weight. Licensed Prescriptions sets out for us the 10 most common myths about weight loss; this is a good starting point to understand how our eating habits affect our weight. At the end of the day, we need to both reduce our calorific intake and increase our exercise. To be of benefit to our health, and in particular our heart, exercise should be strenuous enough to increase our heart rate and make us slightly breathless. If we are not achieving this then the number of calories we burn is far lower and neither are we working to rid the body of toxins, which accumulate in our tissues and depend on hydration, good nutrition and exercise to be expelled. To lose weight, we need to remember that every pound we lose is equivalent to 3500 calories. That may seem a lot if we calculate how overweight we are and work out how many calories that represents; however, if we work on eating 3500 less calories per week and exercise more regularly, we can expect to lose around 2 pounds a week in weight.

Medical professionals tell us that we should aim for a weight loss of around 1-2 pounds a week as this helps to maintain our weight once we have reached our goal. People who lose weight very quickly tend to put it back on again as soon as they have finished dieting. Jogging or swimming, for example takes around 1 ½ hours to burn 1000 calories for a person weighing 185 pounds; while playing golf the same person would need to play for 2 ½ hours to burn the same amount of calories off.

Exercise as a Routine, not a Habit

Apparently, the way in which we think of exercise is influential in whether we engage in regular exercise or not. Should we think we need to develop a habit of exercising, we are doomed to failure before we start. We need to think of exercise, whether our personal preference is for activities such as aerobics or weight lifting for instance, as a ritual – a routine in our lives.

We are recommended to use a number of ruses to trick (or convince) ourselves into starting and continuing with the exercise we have chosen. A good entry into regular exercise is to pencil time into our diary several weeks in advance; this way, we keep to the exercise and work our other commitments around it. When we try to “slot in” exercise around appointments and deadlines we invariably fail and that much needed exercise is first to be dropped off our “to do” list. Another good method of initiating and maintaining enthusiasm is to find someone else with the same interest as we have to get fitter and slimmer. Having a buddy to exercise with really does help us to keep on track. There are many ways in which we can choose to improve our health and lose weight, but regular exercise has got to be a part of our plans.

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