Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Exercise Benefits: Weight Loss and Beyond

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If exercise alone does not promote a substantial weight loss, why bother? For starters, when exercise is coupled with a reduced-calorie eating plan, it enhances weight loss. But the area where exercise appears to have its greatest impact is in weight maintenance. Exercise is a key strategy for keeping weight off. In fact, several studies have shown that regular physical activity is one of the best predictors of who will be able to maintain weight loss successfully.
Exercise is essential to preventing lost pounds from reappearing. Most people in the National Weight Control Registry are between the ages of forty-four and forty-nine, and about 20 percent are men. Whats fascinating to observe in this group of successful losers is that 89 percent of the participants used diet and physical activity together to lose weight, and 91 percent reported using extensive physical activ- ity to keep the weight off. The average amount of energy they burned with exercise was 2,500 calories per week for women and 3,300 calo- ries per week for men. That is a very high level of physical activity and breaks down to doing about 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking, raking leaves, or bicycling on level ground) per day.If getting in 60 to 90 minutes of any type of physical activity every day sounds impossible, dont throw in the exercise towel just yet. According to the U.S. Surgeon Generals Report on Physical Activity and Health, every little bit of exercise helps. Numerous studies have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity  physical activity above and beyond ones usual daily physical activity on most if not all days of the week provide a multitude of health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, premature death, colon and breast cancer, and diabetes. It can also improve the health of muscles, bones, and joints. And studies are continuing to find that exercising regularly can reduce stress and improve mental health.
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