Why is Exercise Important for Weight Loss?

  By: Dr Robert Sloan - Posted on: February 8, 2019 – All, Exercise, Weight

Many people think diet is the most important part of losing weight. Several popular phrases help perpetuate this idea. For example, “Abs are made in the kitchen!” Or “You cannot out-exercise a bad diet.” These simplistic statements lead people to believe working out is not an essential part of weight loss. However, exercise is necessary for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, a weight loss program that only promotes changes to diet may not lead to sustainable long-term results. Here are some reasons why exercise is vital for weight loss.


Working Out Accelerates Weight Loss

Research has shown that those who combine a healthy diet with a good workout program lose weight more quickly and are more likely to keep the weight off. Weight loss is a complex process that involves more than just calculating “calories in versus calories out.”This means a change in diet will not automatically equal steady weight loss. People may experience a rapid loss of weight in the first week or two of a new diet, but then the scale will stop moving. Adding in exercise is key to continuous weight loss.


Exercise Creates a Stronger Body

Severely limiting calories only through diet for weight loss may lead to a body that is deprived and unhealthy. If the body does not have enough fuel, it will consume muscle for energy. This leads to a loss in muscle mass that can be devastating to a person’s metabolism and health. The person losing weight might not realize this and think they are shedding fat instead of muscle. To keep this from happening, moderate calorie restriction needs to be combined with exercise. Muscles will become stronger, and weight loss will occur through fat loss.


Exercise Has Many Overall Health Benefits

Regular work out promotes a healthy body beyond a slim figure. People can dramatically improve their overall quality of life when they do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming improve heart health, regulate blood sugar, and strengthen bones. Strength training, which can involve weights, resistance bands or body weight exercises, increases muscle mass, metabolism, and overall energy. Working out is also a great way to improve mental health!


It is tempting to try to lose weight through diet alone. After all, many people do not enjoy workout and would rather not go to the gym. While restricting calories can induce weight loss, there are many additional health benefits to including exercise as part of an overall healthy lifestyle plan. Therefore, when someone decides to lose weight, it is important they remember that exercise is just as important as diet. When the two are combined, a person can achieve success and better preserve health span and lifespan.


Dr. Robert Sloan is a Senior Assistant Professor of Kagoshima University Graduate Medical School in Japan. He is also an ACSM-certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Dr. Sloan has worked more than 20 years in the field of chronic disease management. His previous appointments include head of fitness and obesity prevention for the Singapore Health Promotion Board and the U.S. Navy Public Health Centre. Dr. Sloan was trained at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, LA and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Health, MA in Exercise Science & Health Promotion, and a BA in Psychology.

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