Don’t expect that simply consuming fewer calories will produce the weight loss you want. You’ll probably want to help your body along by incorporating an exercise program that will burn calories faster and will help replace fat tissue with hard-working, calorie-burning muscle.
Keep in mind that as a rule, the more you move the more calories you burn. So, even on days when you don’t have the time for a formal exercise program, be sure to keep on the move. Climb stairs, take a short walk, move around the house or office, and toss away those remote controls — get off the couch to change channels. Staying on the move helps to increase your metabolism so that you burn calories more quickly and lose weight faster and more effectively.
Muscle Burns More Calories
The inherent benefits to exercise are that it helps you build muscle and burn calories. But, did you know that muscle burns more calories, even at rest, than fat tissue? In fact, muscle cells burn ten times the calories as fat cells. So that’s a really good reason to build up muscle mass!
The Optimum Calorie Burner
The most efficient form of exercise when it comes to fat burning is aerobic exercise. Generally speaking, that’s exercise that causes you to breathe more deeply and has the potential to burn fat as fuel. Aerobic exercises make use of the large muscle groups: arms, legs and back, on a continuous basis. So that activities like swimming, running, brisk walking, cycling, skiing, even gardening are great aerobic workouts and very effective fat burners.
Low to moderate intensity aerobic exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes, four to five days a week is a safe and practical way to burn body fat and start building muscle. A half-hour of brisk walking or cycling can have significant benefits to weight loss.
Here are a few examples of the number of calories the average 150-pound person burns participating in some common aerobic activities for one hour:
- Swimming, 25 yds/min — 275 calories
- Walking, 3 mph — 320 calories
- Jogging, 5½ mph — 740 calories
- Bicycling, 6 mph — 240 calories
- Bicycling, 12 mph — 410 calories
- Tennis, singles — 400 calories
If you are already accustomed to frequent exercise, you may want to take it to the next level in order to achieve your weight loss goals. Either extend the duration of your exercise or the intensity. By doing so, you’ll not only burn more calories during exercise, you’ll continue to burn more calories even during cool down because your metabolism will have sped up.
Start Out Slow and Get Fit Fast
Depending on your overall physical fitness, you may need to ease into exercise. If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle, start at a level you can easily perform. If you’re doing more than before, you’re still on the path to improving your fitness and health – and you can build on that week by week. Remember, if you’re in pain during or after exercise, then back off a little.
Don’t try to do too much. When first starting out, walking is one of the best ways to burn fat. Whether you walk the dog, take a walk in the park or walk briskly through the mall, you’ll find that you are getting an aerobic workout. Soon you’ll be able to go further and go faster.
Walking and other forms of exercise are great stress relievers. So work out your problems and calm down with a healthy walk or run. A good tennis game, shooting a few hoops or a round of golf can help relieve stress and help you burn fat, lose weight, and feel happier and healthier.
Here are a few more ideas for easy activities that you can do:
- Try tai-chi or yoga
- Play with your kids
- Take up a sport – you’ll improve your fitness and your social life
- Join a group for exercise – exercising with friends or family can motivate you and turn exercise into a fun activity
- Vacuum the house – you’ll burn 79 calories in only 15 minutes and end up with a clean house!
Squeezed for Time?
With lives that are already overscheduled, you’ll need to get creative when it comes to exercise.
Here are a few ways to squeeze a little exercise into your busy life.
- Put on music while cooking, cleaning or folding laundry get into the beat, swing those hips and start dancing
- Get up from your desk, TV or computer and take a mini-break to get a breath of fresh air and move around
- Enjoy today’s wireless freedom and use a hands-free headset to make calls to family and friends while you walk around the house or yard (portable phone) or around the block (cell phone)
- Park your car a comfortable distance from your office or store and get out and walk there
- Don’t be a slouch while waiting on line – tighten your stomach muscles and raise and lower yourself on your toes and enjoy the benefits of a quick exercise routine
- Walk your child to school or bike there together
- Bike to the store or office
- Use stairs instead of elevators whenever you can
- Add a few yoga moves to your wakeup routine every morning
Make it fun and make it happen!
Add Strength Training
You can build muscle through strength training as well as through aerobic exercise. Combining the two will help you increase muscle mass faster and that will help speed up your metabolic rate. Strength training several times a week will tone your muscles and help you burn more calories – even when you’re at rest!
Exercise combined with a reduction in caloric intake will put you well on the road to sensible weight loss. So, be sure to incorporate some form of exercise into your everyday life even when formal exercise isn’t possible. Stay on the move and keep an eye on calorie intake. Calorie-wise, healthy eating together with strength training and aerobic exercise will keep you fit and help you maintain a healthy body weight and become a slimmer you!