Most people have their own reasons for exercising, which may have little to do with weight loss. Things like general health, fitness, stamina and even better mental health, are common reasons given.
But losing weight, or maintaining a trim physique, is usually in there somewhere.
So deciding whether using exercise for weight loss is a good idea, can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. There are different ideas out there when it comes to what type of exercise is best. For example, some say that weight bearing exercise such as jogging or walking, is best – while other activities like swimming or cycling may not be so effective.
Many people find that they embark on an exercise program, only to find that the vision of losing those unwanted pounds in a week soon evaporates.
So here we want to explore what the truth is behind exercise and weight loss and understand how you can accurately calculate the amount of calories that different activties will lose for you.
One popular belief, is that burning a pound of fat takes 3,500 calories worth of exercise and since walking one mile burns 100 calories, you would therfore lose one pound for every 35 miles you walk. This would mean that if you walk 5 miles per day, you would achieve your target of 35 miles per week and would eliminate your one pound of fat.
However, the above calculation does not take into account the number of calories a person would lose from simply sitting still, or in other words, “being alive” for that one week.
Recent studies have shown that there are a number of exercise factors that influence weight loss. For example, walking at 3.5 mph would use up 54 calories, whereas jogging or running at mph would burn 107 calories. So running uses nearly twice the calories as walking, over the same distance.
Now, if you walk on a treadmill at home, this reduces the number of calories you burn by about 10 to 15 percent to what the machine claims you’re burning. Nevertheless, there are other advantages, including less impact on the musculoskeletal system and the convenience of exercising indoors, whatever the weather conditions.
Other factors that influence the amount of fat your burn are how long you exercise for and how intense it is. The bottom line is, that if you work out harder and for a longer period, you will burn more fat.
Activities that resist gravity such as running, dancing or even climbing stairs, use more calories than swimming or cycling. This is because the more muscle groups you use in your exericse, the more fat you will burn. So you want a form of exericse that uses as many muscles in your body as possible at one time.
If you choose muscle building resistance exercises using weights or machines, you may lose fewer pounds than you would from running, but you will be stronger and better toned. Greater muscle mass increases your basic metabolic rate and you will burn more calories, even when you’re doing nothing.
Finally, there are some factors you might have no control over. Some people are simply born with higher metabolic rates and produce a higher level of fat burning enzymes than others. Gender is also a consideration. Women, for example, find it more difficult to eliminate abdominal fat than men do, but around the belly is where men tend to put it on first of all.