The health community calls obesity an epidemic. It is on par to become the number one cause of preventable death in the USA, ahead of smoking cigarettes. Obesity can lead to a range of other health issues such as type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and can also increase your risk of cancer. Losing weight is one of the best ways you can reduce these health risks and improve your quality of life.
As much as we would love to believe there was a magic solution to losing weight, the reality is that there is not. In order for your body to lose excess fat you need to be able to burn more calories to complete your daily functions than what you put in to your body. Therefore to lose weight you are going to decrease the calories you eat and increase you the amount you use by exercising more.
There is a lot of variety to choose from when looking for a weight loss program. A lot of them tell you what foods to eat, what foods to avoid, in what portion sizes and at what times. Not all of them however explain how important exercise is in losing weight and your health in general.
Exercise is an essential part of the weight loss equation for many reasons:
- Your metabolism will slow down when you start to reduce your food intake. You can elevate your metabolism by exercising.
- Exercise is a great calorie burner. This will help you lose weight faster and that in turn will keep you motivated and on track to your goals. .
- Endorphins are released when you exercise. Endorphins are what helps to keep your mood elevated.
Don’t like the thought of sweating your way through exhausting gym workouts. Don’t worry you don’t have to. Exercising should be enjoyable otherwise you are less likely to stick with it in the long term. When you are starting out you should be aiming to just increase your activity level. This could be as simple as parking further from the shop entry and walking to the door, taking the stairs when you can rather than an elevator. Take dancing or martial arts classes. Organise to take your dog for a walk or an afternoon stroll with a friend.
After you become more active and raise your fitness level you will find it easier to increase you amount of regular exercise. Regular exercise is important in improving your health. Raising you heart rate to your optimum fat burning level and keeping it at that rate for at 20 mins, 3 times per week is key to increasing your health and well being. Going to the gym is not your only option for achieving this. You can follow along to DVD’s or an online program, you could go for a run, you could do a fitness class. You can change your routine often to ensure that it keeps you motivated and you don’t get bored. Online programs and DVD’s have the added benefit on allowing you to get the exercise in while in the comfort of your own home.
Having a physical limitation does not mean that you can not exercise. There are still ways that you can increase your activity level. Many public pools offer water aerobics classes now. This is a great alternative for people who have limited mobility or joint issues because the water assists to relieve the pressure on your body/joints. The water has the added benefit of providing resistance for your muscles. An online or DVD program that allows you to exercise in while seated is another great alternative.
The most important thing when choosing an exercise is choosing one that is fun and keeps you motivated. You could make your exercise a social event or a challenge. See what distance you can walk in a week or how many steps you can take using a pedometer. Challenge your friends to see who can walk the furthest. Be sure the winner’s reward is not food related.
If you can make exercise an enjoyable part of your day, you will look forward to it every day and it will become a normal part of your routine.