Friday, August 21, 2009

Exercise To Lose Weight - No Gym Membership Required!

When people think of how to exercise to lose weight, they often assume that they will have to buy a gym membership and workout for hours every day. Not true! Not only is it not essential, the image of pumping iron in the gym for hour after hour is a complete red herring, and here's why...

The basic facts of losing weight are that if you consume less calories, and/or burn more calories, you will lose weight. It really is that simple. So you have a choice. You can either focus on your diet and keep your exercise levels exactly what they are, or exercise a lot more but eat the same (be sure not to eat more!), or try to combine both in some way.

The best type of exercise for weight loss is aerobic exercise. This means anything that works your heart and makes you breathe faster. Examples might be running, fast walking, cycling, swimming. Even slow walking can make a difference if you have a lot of weight to lose. Of course, you should increase gradually and check with your doctor that whatever you plan to do is suitable for you.

If you go to the gym and do a lot of weight lifting, you will burn fat and build muscle at the same time. This will tone your body shape, and the increased muscle will consume more calories, even in a resting state. Muscle can weigh a lot though, so your weight may stay the same or even increase even though your body shape improves. If you plan on doing this type of exercise, it is better to track your process by taking waist and other measurements, rather than relying on the bathroom scale.

If you don't want to go down that route, you may think of running - but running can cause joint injury. In fact walking can have 75% of the impact that running has. You still need to walk at a pace which leaves you breathing slightly heavier than normal, but you shouldn't be out of breath. If you do that for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, you will be burning a huge amount of calories compared to when you didn't walk.

Exercise to lose weight can even be done right there in your chair. Simple exercises can increase muscle usage and aerobic activity, and can be done while sitting in front of the TV. Obviously you should not have a bucket of popcorn on your lap at the same time!

So you can see that when you think of exercise to lose weight, even the simplest of activities can have a big effect, without leaving you in an exhausted heap after a grueling session at the gym.

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