Exercise is a physical activity that works your body at a greater intensity than your usual level of daily activity. The goal when pursuing weight loss has to be doing anything physical that makes you break a sweat and get slightly out of breath so that your cardiovascular system is pumping. Exercise typically raises your heart rate and works your muscles and should, of course, overtime improve your physical fitness.
The key is to find the form of exercise that works for you and that you will enjoy. It might be going for a brisk walk or a run, taking a yoga or spin class or going swimming – there are many ways to get physical and get fit in the process. You can start with a small amount of activity – saying marching on the spot while watching a favourite TV programme or heading out for a brisk walk around the block – you don’t necessarily have to pound the footpaths or go for intensive workouts at the gym in order to feel the benefits of exercise.
Unless you are extremely fit it is always best to start gently and slowly increase the intensity and length of time that you exercise for. A good tip is to start an exercise diary in which you keep a note of your new regime of physical activity and plan future activities. You could also include a healthy eating plan alongside this, documenting your calorie intake for each day.
When you start your exercise plan you may not immediately see the results on the scales – as fat converts to muscle you may be losing inches but not weight – remember, this is a good thing. When you’re working out to lose weight, whether it’s aerobic exercise or strength training, you’re not only burning off calories and fat but, importantly, are building muscle too.
So do not despair if you don’t see the results on the scales immediately and keep at your exercise and diet plan because this is the only winning combination to reduce your weight over time.
You should also remember the immensely positive effects that exercise will have on your mental wellbeing. Exercise is a great way to release stress and reduce your anxiety levels. It causes the release of endorphins, those all-important feel-good hormones, and will help you relieve pent-up tensions and stress, reducing the cortisol levels that produce anxiety in the body. Remember that your mind and body are inextricably linked so if you train and get into shape physically this will have a positive effect on your psychological state, increasing your chances of feeling good mentally and emotionally.
It’s important to remember that exercise alone will not help you lose weight unless you are also following a calorie-controlled, healthy and balanced diet. It is important to combine healthy eating and physical exertion if you want to see the pounds drop off and this is the optimum way to lose weight and to keep the pounds off permanently.
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