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Weight Control Through Exercise - It's More Than Diet

Sep 22, 2009

Weight control through exercise is about more than just diet; it also requires regular activity. Everything you eat contains calories, and even if you eat a low fat diet, your body will store unused calories as fat. Exercise helps control your weight by allowing your body to burn the calories that it might otherwise store as fat. Here's how you can use exercise to help control your weight.

1. Lower Your Daily Calorie Intake

If you're trying to lose weight, the first thing you want to do is lower your daily calorie intake (while increasing daily exercise). You can utilize Fitday's online journal to track the foods you eat and calories you consume. Use the following information to determine how many calories are in the food you eat, by weight:

  • Carbohydrates and proteins contain 4 calories per gram
  • Fats contain 9 calories per gram
  • Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram

Keep track of your daily calorie intake for about a week before you begin dieting, and then you'll have some idea of how much less you need to eat in order to reduce your calorie intake. Most adults need between 1,500 and 2,000 calories per day; don't eat less than 1,300 calories per day, or your body could go into starvation mode (which puts your health at risk).

2. Increase Your Level of Physical Activity

Lowering your daily calorie intake while increasing your physical activity is the only reliable and safe way to lose weight and keep it off. Weight control involves a full scale lifestyle change, and no fad diet or crash diet plan can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Aerobic activities like swimming, walking, jogging and cycling are necessary if you're looking to control your weight. These simple exercises increase your rate of breathing, and allow your body to begin burning stored fat as fuel. Remember, for the first twenty minutes of any aerobic exercise, your body will be using energy made from food you ate that day. You won't start burning stored fat until you've exercised for over twenty minutes continuously.

3. Combine Aerobic Activities with Strength Training Exercises

Aerobic exercises can contribute to body fat loss, but you might still find that stubborn body fat won't disappear from problem areas such as the thighs, abdomen and buttocks. The bad news is, you can't lose body fat from just one area of the body at a time; fat loss has to occur from your entire body all at once. When fat deposits accumulate in one area, such as the belly, those fat deposits will be the last to go.

However, you can still tone the muscles of your body through strength training or anaerobic exercise. Toning your muscles means that you'll have more physical strength and endurance, which will help you to perform aerobic exercise for longer periods of time to burn more calories and control your weight more effectively. You'll also experience fewer sports related injuries because strength training improves your balance and strengthens joints. Also, since fat is burned within the muscles, building and maintaining muscle mass will allow you to burn calories more effectively, even while at rest.

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