With all of the diets, programs, software, gyms, books, and videos out there, you may think that losing weight is a complicated task. Actually, it's quite simple: consume fewer calories than you burn. That's all there is to it. And there is no better way to burn calories than by exercising. Regular exercise is an important part of effective weight loss. It helps to control your weight by using excess calories that otherwise would be stored as fat.
You don't have to do complicated exercises nor do you have to join a gym. Just get moving. Make small changes each and every day, and you'll slowly but surely lose those extra pounds. It can be a little frustrating not to lose a lot of weight right away, but it's much safer, easier and frankly more pleasant to make small changes and see the weight come off over time. That way, it's much more likely to stay off. People who go on crash diets not only usually gain the weight back, but they gain more weight! So instead, trade in some high fat foods for low fat healthy choices, and get moving!
If you can burn an extra 500 calories a day, you'll lose a half a kilo a week. You can burn 300 of those calories doing some exercise, and you can save 200 calories a day easily…you probably won't even notice the difference!
For example: trade your daily Coke in for a glass of water and save 97 calories. Instead of an Egg McMuffin, have a whole-wheat bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter and save 185 calories. You're already over the 200 you needed! Then burn 300 calories with exercise by walking up and down a flight of stairs for just 10 minutes, taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes (walk fast enough that you breathe hard), and do yoga for 10 minutes. That's it, there's your 500 calories. Other household activities that burn calories include vacuuming, raking leaves, gardening, playing with your kids, walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, parking and walking longer distances, and mowing the lawn. Any extra movement you can do will help you reach your weight loss goals…as long as you don't make up for them by eating cookies! The point is not to make physical activity an unwelcome chore, but to make the most of the opportunities you have to be active.
To burn 300 calories at the gym, try the following. For each exercise, warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio and monitor your heart rate. Always end with a cool down and stretch. It's easy to spice up your workouts by playing around with your speed, incline and resistance and alternating high intensity intervals with recovery periods. This not only keeps you from getting bored, it also helps burn more calories and increases your endurance very quickly. For those who prefer to work out as part of a group, many gyms provide classes, such as various forms of dance, body pump, body combat and step aerobics with a trained instructor to ensure that you get the most out of your workout.
Even taking a few extra brisk walks can be enough to improve fitness and receive the benefits of aerobic exercise, just as long as you are working hard enough that your heart rate is increased and you are breathing faster. Getting outside is a great way to enjoy your surroundings while losing weight and improving your physical fitness.
For general fitness, experts recommend working out for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, as well as doing some form of strength training and stretching. If you're a beginner, however, try starting with 10 minute sessions for the first week then increase that to 15 or 20 minute sessions the next week and so on until you feel comfortable exercising for longer.
Make sure that you listen to your body. It's ok for muscles to be tired, but if they or your joints start to feel sore or breathing becomes uncomfortable slow down or stop to ensure that you are in a fit state for your next session. You'll want to gradually increase the amount of exercise a few minutes each week, rather than make big changes all at once.
In terms of how much weight you will lose and how quickly, that will vary. If you have been sedentary or have a lot of weight to lose, starting a regular exercise program will give you big results quickly. You'll see changes within the first couple of weeks. However, over time, you may find your weight loss slows down. This is because your body is adjusting to its new demands and is becoming more efficient at burning calories and maintaining your fitness. To get off a plateau, you'll want to change your exercise routine or increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. Try varying your workouts by using different machines at the gym, or trying a new kind of class, or changing your outdoor activity for something new. If you'd rather not change what you are doing, then you'll need to either increase the duration of your exercise sessions, or increase the intensity, in order to see continued improvement in your weight. A session with a personal trainer can be a great way to see where you are with your fitness and weight loss goals, and where you need to go. He or she can recommend the best exercises to get you off a plateau and on your way again.
Whatever path you choose, remember that losing weight through exercise is not complicated: just get moving!