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  • Writer's pictureAdvanced Physical Therapy and Fitness

Exercise for Health or Exercise for Weight Loss?

Now that the first month of the New Year is almost over, many people are contemplating whether or not to maintain their New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions that people make is to lose weight, and exercise is a pivotal component in maintaining this weight loss. Perhaps you’re struggling with this task of losing weight, but I urge you not to give up exercise simply because you aren’t seeing the weight loss benefits that you wanted. There is much more to exercise than simply weight loss and there is more to weight loss than just exercise.

Exercise has many benefits including controlling weight, fighting health conditions and disease, improving mood, increasing energy, promoting better sleep, energizing your sex life, and it can simply be fun. The key to all of these benefits is REGULAR exercise. I know firsthand how easily your life can get in the way of exercise and how difficult it can be to maintain a regular routine. Despite this knowledge, I also know how important it is to get into a regular routine and the sooner the better.

There are variations between exercise simply for your health and exercise for weight loss. When your goal is to lose weight, it is recommended that you should exercise at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity in addition to strength training exercises at least twice a week. Depending on the person, 300 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise may be necessary. These exercise sessions should be spread out throughout the week and last at least 10 minutes each. In one study from the University of Pittsburgh, it was found that a 55 minute regime was the minimum needed to maintain a 10 percent drop in weight; thus exercising 1 hour, 5 days a week was recommended. In this study, the participants that maintained their weight loss were those who exercised above 275 minutes per week.

In addition to exercise, dieting is crucial for weight loss. Exercise is important to prevent weight gain and maintain weight loss, but dieting has the strongest effect on losing the existing weight. Burning approximately 3500 calories is required to lose 1 pound of fat; therefore, if you cut 500 calories from your diet every day you will lose an average of 1 pound per week. Due to changes in the body, the number of calories being consumed may need to be cut further.

When your goal is for other health benefits rather than weight loss, exercise can be performed either along the same parameters as those for weight loss or slightly less often. For example, if your goal is heart health, aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week is recommended. You may exercise more often than this parameter, but this is the minimum weekly recommendation for heart health.

The key here is that you stay active. As we have stated in the past, exercise does not have to mean going to the gym. Activity can be around your house or even at work depending on your job requirements. Hopefully this information gives you a better grasp on what the best exercise routine is for you based on your goals for the New Year. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions pertaining to exercise benefits or any other topic in which you are interested. Thank you for reading and stay active.



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