Exercise Part 1: Basic Priciples
The word "exercise" means different things to different people. For a
professional athlete, exercise may involve several hours of high intensity
training nearly daily. For a formerly sedentary sixty year old man with diabetes
and obesity, it may mean fifteen minutes of walking just a few times per week.
Advice that would apply to the athlete would be dangerous for the diabetic.
To be effective, and most important, to avoid injury and burnout, exercise
needs to be specifically tailored to each person in a manner that accounts for
health, physical condition, age, gender, goals, values, culture, income, time
Does Exercise Help People Lose Weight?
Yes, but even more it helps people maintain
weight loss over the long term.
How Does Exercise Help With Weight Control
Exercise helps in ways that are obvious and in
ways that are not
Direct Benefits of Exercise to Weight Control (and General Health)
1: It burns calories.
2: It prevents eating: This may sound stupid, but a person engaged in
exercise is generally unable to eat at the same time. Here's a more
concrete example: A 54 year old woman who used to eat fast food with
co-workers at lunch decides instead to walk for that hour. Not only does
her weight benefit from the calorie-burning caused by walking, but she is no
longer able to spend the time consuming high fat food.
Indirect (delayed) Benefits of Exercise
1: Increased resting metabolic rate. Nearly all exercise seems to increase
resting metabolism to at least a small degree. Generally resistance training
(weight lifting) seems to increase resting metabolic rate more than aerobic
activity, but both forms help.
2: Appetite Modulation. For several hours after, exercise suppresses
appetite and also seems specifically to reduce fat craving. Some of this
effect may be related to the "natural high" of exercise that causes a
change in brain chemistry.
3: Exercise Increases the Thermic Effect of Food. Studies show that regular
exercise increases the percent of calories in a meal that the body burns
4: Exercise Elevates Mood. Because people who exercise feel better, they
are more likely to stay motivated to make all the lifestyle changes needed
for weight loss.
5: Exercise Improves General Health: People who exercise are prone to
fewer and milder illnesses than those who do not. This means less
"down-time", and a lower chance that illness will 'de-rail" a person's weight
What is the "Best" Type of Exercise for Weight Control?
Perhaps the simplest and best answer for many people is "ANY" kind of
exercise. It is far better to do something physical (that is safe) than
nothing at all. A point that we shall emphasise again and again is that
the benefit of simply getting up and moving instead of doing nothing is so
much greater than the benefits of one exercise type over another that
for people who have long-remained sedentary, the point is mute. Do
ANYTHING. Just make sure to start slowly, keep it low-impact and make
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