The health benefits of regular workout routine are numerous; that’s indisputable. For one thing, if you exercise regularly, you improve not just your cardiovascular health, but you also prevent osteoporosis, fight diabetes, promote brain function, and the list doesn’t stop here. In other words, physical activity is vital for optimal body function and overall health.
In addition, one of the great benefits of exercise is that it not only prevents disease, but it can also reverse it.
Movement is Important
Regular workout can help you lose weight, but also maintain desired weight. That’s what we’ve known so far. Nevertheless, a number of studies have found that regular exercise alone is not enough to stimulate weight loss.
The thing is the more calories you burn, the less your body stores as fat. But, if you aren’t following a strict workout routine, you can’t depend on exercise to lose fat and you’re therefore restricted to reducing your calorie intake.
How Fat is Formed
There’s no doubt that regular exercise increases your metabolism helping you lose weight without you having to make any changes to your diet. But, this is only the short-range perspective because over time, your overall metabolism will slow down in order to readapt to your body’s needs. In other words, your body eventually starts retaining fat as much as possible because it’s an important energy source.
If you want to lose weight in the long run or to prevent gaining the weight back, your calorie intake is far more important than your exercise regimen, because the more you work out, the hungrier you are. There’s an additional risk to this as you are likely to relapse to old habits.
Plus, people who are diligent about their workout regimen spend less time in the kitchen and usually opt for ready-made, frozen or takeout food. Needless to mention, this only undermines your weight loss efforts.
You can effectively burn around 450 calories with an hour’s worth of moderate aerobic exercise. This number of calories equals the amount of calories you get from two cans of Coca-Cola and a small bag of potato chips.
A 2013 study published in Population Health Metrics explains:
“…increased physical activity alone has a small impact on obesity prevalence at the county level in the US. Indeed, the rise in physical activity levels will have a positive independent impact on the health of Americans as it will reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Other changes such as reduction in caloric intake are likely needed to curb the obesity epidemic and its burden.”
Another worrying fact revealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years.
The expansion of the electronic age and the decrease of physical activity in children are identified as the main culprits for this. In addition, child’s safety has become a priority to most parents, which is why outdoor activities have become replaced by “safe” indoor ones. Another cause of worry is the modern diet that mostly revolves around convenience, processed and fast foods. Sadly, American homes and schools are abounding in sugar, unhealthy fats, chemical additives, and empty calories.
There are similar correlations in modern lifestyle of adults. The thing is, studies comparing physical activity in industrialized versus developing nations and their national obesity rates, found that increased exercise didn’t make much of a difference.
What you need to be aware if is that any food you buy at the grocery store is “processed”, although the degrees of processing can vary from product to product.
The author of The Dorito Effect published last year explains why food manufacturers add chemicals to basic food ingredients. He identifies 2 main reasons:
- If it tastes good, people eat more of it and,
- farming practices have changed so much in the last 60 years that basic food doesn’t taste like it used to, which is a reflection of its nutritional content.
This means your first step in your weight loss plan should be eliminating all processed foods in your home: if you have never heard of an ingredient on the product label, don’t buy it!