In short, yes!
And while changing your eating habits is a big deal when it comes to your long-term health, adding even a small amount of exercise into your day can make a big difference to your health and the results that you’re looking for.
And here’s why.
Typically, when we lose weight, up to a quarter of that weight comes from lean body mass (muscle). Argh – not what we want! We need to keep that stuff and nourish it well so that it sticks around. By adding exercise to your routine, you can minimise muscle loss and lose higher amounts of fat than you would without exercise, as one particular study found.
And what’s more?
Exercise is highly likely to help you keep that weight off. Up to an hour of exercise every day has been shown to maintain weight loss and avoid weight regain.
Wondering what kind of exercise you should do?
One type of exercise that may have particularly impressive benefits is high-intensity interval training. If you’re up for the challenge, try adding sprint intervals into your next jog by including 60-second bursts at an all-out pace followed by three minutes of recovery at a comfortable pace.
By adding high-intensity intervals to your exercise routine, you can stimulate your metabolism for up to 24 hours after your workout… that sounds pretty to good from where we’re sitting (or running)!
But what about weights and other resistance exercise?
We know that resistance training helps to build muscle and burn fat. And because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, your overall calorie burn will be higher throughout the day and can also help prevent the drop in metabolism that usually comes with weight loss. Not to mention, you’ll also look leaner with more muscle tone and less fat!
How to start?
Start with two or three sets of 10-12 repetitions of bicep curls, overhead presses, squats and lunges using light weights. When your body adapts, you feel comfortable with the exercises and you feel stronger, increase the weight and number of repetitions. Fitnessblender.com has some great workouts you can tailor to available time and equipment as well as intensity level.
While most cardio-based exercise (walking, running, cycling etc.) won’t build muscle, it will help to burn calories and fat. A well-referenced study showed that those who included cardio into their plan lost more weight compared to those who don’t exercise.
There are several recent studies that demonstrate that those who include cardio are more likely to lose visceral fat (the dangerous kind of belly fat that you really want to get rid of).
I really want to get it right this time. Lose the weight and keep it off. Any advice?
We hear you. Long-term weight loss and maintenance is something we’re super passionate about. The truth is that most people who lose weight regain it all back (sadly, often a little more) within three to five years. But the good news? Regular exercise (that you enjoy) makes it more likely you’ll maintain your new healthy weight.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 150-250 minutes a week of moderate physical activity – such as brisk walking, mowing the lawn and swimming – is enough to prevent weight regain. That’s basically 30 minutes, 5 times a week, or 1 hour, 3 times a week. Doable? Absolutely!
So there you have it. Get the results that you want sooner by fitting in exercise where you can, and find yourself glowing from the inside out.