Classic teaching believes that weight loss is a simple equation of energy in and energy out.
However, the connection between exercise and weight loss is unclear.
What is clear is that weight loss is not simple and applying a simple equation to try to predict or expect weight loss does not work.
How much a person weighs and their ability to change that weight is affected by:
- Genetics, past exercise levels and metabolism.
- Individual mindset, willpower and motivating factors.
- Ongoing disease processes and medications.
- Stress and hormone levels.
- Activity level.
- Diet, food choices and water intake.
- Sleep quality and amount.
Knowing what to do is complicated when the information and advice seems to conflict with itself.
- Aerobic fitness burns calories and fat, but doesn’t seem to affect muscle mass.
- Strength training affects muscle mass, but does not necessarily aid weight loss.
- Exercise increases hunger in some people, making them eat more calories than they burned during their workout.
- You can’t outrun a bad diet.
- An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people tend to see the biggest results when they eat smart, believing weight loss to be 75% related to diet and 25% related to exercise.
The pieces of information above are all saying the same thing.
It depends on the person.
When the goal is to improve one’s health, whether or not that involves weight loss, the same general advice works for everyone.
- Increase water intake.
- Improve sleep quality.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole foods.
- Avoid processed foods and sugar.
- Spend time connecting with friends and loved ones.
- Enjoy a hobby or guilty pleasure (in moderation!)
- Connect with nature.
- Spend time outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
- Play, exercise or move your body every day.
The above steps are naturally involved in successfully improving one’s health and happiness.
Studies show that exercise is great for your health, whether or not it results in weight loss.
- Exercise lowers the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and some cancers. Studies have shown this effect to be up to a 50% risk reduction.
- Exercise is incredibly good for your mental health, helps manage stress and release energy and frustration.
Most of the benefits of exercise seem to come from improvements in body composition, overall fitness and metabolic health, not just weight loss.
Focusing on improving the building blocks of your life will improve your health and help you reach your goals.
Exercise will help you reach your overall goal of improved health and happiness, even if it does not necessarily help you reach a specific number on the scale or desired pant size.
- A healthy heart, brain and lungs are essential to live a long, full life.
- An improved mindset and less stress will help you enjoy that long, full life.
- Improved body composition, increased stamina and overall strength will help you feel better, live more fully and avoid illness and injury.
Exercise plays an essential part in reaching a goal of overall health and happiness.
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