How exercise helps to accelerate weight loss…
Why exercise helps weight loss in more ways than one. The benefit of exercise is that while you are exercising, you will be burning additional calories over and above those that you have been using previously.
Consequently, exercise will help to get rid of the additional weight you are carrying. If regular exercise and you have become strangers in the recent past, it is time to start getting yourself reacquainted with doing some exercise.
However, it goes much further than actually burning off more calories when you are participating in exercise, because activity helps to speed up your metabolism as well.
In essence, once you start a program of regular exercise, your body might actually burn more calories even when at rest, so that there will be an all-round improvement in the speed at which you are using up the calories. In fact, this improvement can go as far as burning off more calories when you sleep, because although your body is at rest, the ‘speed up’ effect in your metabolism is a 24/7 thing.
However, it is generally believed that anaerobic exercise is far more effective for burning fat when you are at rest than is aerobic exercise. I will expand on the differences below.
What kind of exercise is best?
There is no one answer to the question of what kind of exercise is best, because to a large extent it will depend on what you want to achieve while getting rid of the surplus poundage.
For example, while most overweight people are likely to be primarily interested in getting rid of their surplus fat and not a great deal more, there will be some people who are equally interested in building their musculature.
For anyone that falls into this category, the exercises that you choose to do will be different from those that work best for people who are just trying to shed the extra pounds of fat. As an example, if you are trying to replace fat with muscle, then lifting weights is going to be more appropriate than would be swimming or running, although of course, all three forms of exercise would have significant benefits.
In essence therefore, you need to know what your primary target is before deciding what kind of exercise program is best for you. There are essentially two different types of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic.
Aerobic exercise is called this because it encompasses the exercises that make you ‘out of breath’, so that you begin breathing more deeply as a way of replacing the depleted levels of oxygen in your body and blood. Aerobic exercise works your lungs and speeds up your heart, and it is therefore generally better at burning fat than is anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise takes in such things as running or jogging, swimming, cycling and even walking.
Anaerobic exercise on the other hand is the opposite, the kind of exercise that does not get you out of breath or make you ‘puff and pant’. Falling into this category would be the weightlifting. As previously suggested, anaerobic exercise does not burn off the fat as quickly as does aerobic, but it does have the benefit that it is more effective for speeding up your metabolism, leading to the effect of burning more calories even when at rest.
Aerobic exercise works as part of a fat burning weight loss plan, because your body normally turns to carbohydrates to provide the energy that you need. However, when exercising, your body starts to look to the stored fat to provide some of the necessary energy as well, hence the weight loss effect.
Anaerobic exercise on the other hand will generally be almost entirely fuelled by the carbohydrates in your body, and therefore the fat loss effect is far less noticeable. It does however have the advantage of speeding up your metabolism.
It is important to realize that there are situations where the two different forms of exercise tend to blur into one another. For example, if you start out walking slowly, then that is aerobic exercise, but if you start to push your speed until you reach jogging and then running pace, the expansion and contraction of your muscles means that you are also exercising anaerobically as well as aerobically.
There are a couple more factors to bear in mind.
Firstly, somewhat counter-intuitively, the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn.
Secondly, even within a category of exercise, some forms of exercise are more effective for burning of fat than others.
You need to look at all your options, I recommend adding exercises from both groups.
As always though, before starting ANY exercise program make sure you seek the advise and recommendations from your doctor. Only you and your doctor know about other factors that effect your progress.