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Lose Weight Permanently With Regular Physical Activity

The key to lose weight permanently and attain ideal body weight is regular physical activity. With regular physical activity, you may not even have to give up food, or go through endless work outs, to see long-term positive results.

Your body needs a certain amount of calories to maintain basic functions such as breathing, blood circulation and digestion. The energy required to keep your organs functioning is referred to as the resting or basal metabolic rate (BMR).

With extra activity, additional energy is required. It is obtained from glycogen (carbohydrates) and fat stored in the blood, liver, and muscles. The key to losing weight is to draw on the fat rather than on the carbohydrate reserves.

Which of the two energy sources you use depends on the intensity and duration of your activity.

  • Higher intensity /short duration activity - the more your body will pull from the stored carbohydrates.
  • Lower intensity / longer duration activity - the more your body will rely on fat as its fuel source.
Aerobic Activities

Aerobic exercise (any activity that increases oxygen intake and heart rate) is most effective to lose weight. When you perform aerobic activities you repeatedly contract large muscle groups such as your legs and arms. Walking, running, jogging, roller blading, swimming, dancing, and jumping jacks are all forms of aerobic activity.

Low to moderate intense activity or long duration activity will burn more fat than short burst high intense exercise. In short, a brisk 30-minute walk will burn fat while a 100-yard sprint will burn glycogen stores.

Strength Training

Strength training or resistance exercises use your existing muscular strength to increase muscle mass and burn fat. The result is more lean muscle mass. Increased muscle mass provides you with a bonus: your body burns more calories, both while you are active, and when you are at rest.

Your body shape becomes more youthful with strength training and as your strength and energy increase you will feel more empowered physically and emotionally.

Rowing, climbing stairs, and calisthenics like push-ups, are strength training exercises. Many strength training exercises employ dumbbells and weights to help work your muscles.

As with all new exercises, begin slowly. You repeat exercises over time until they become comfortable. When you are ready, you can intensify your workout by first adding sets of repetitions and light weights and later by graduating to heavier weights.

Nice and Easy Does It

One pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories. To lose one pound a week you would have to consume about 500 calories less per day. (7 days x 500 calories = 3,500 calories.)

Of course, it's the high fat foods that you want to minimize in your diet. Don't try to lose it all in too short a period. Small adjustments in habit are more long-lasting than radical changes. Remember too, that daily caloric intake should not fall below 1200 calories for women or 1500 calories for men.

However, remember also that regular physical activity can burn a significant amount of fat calories. You can lose weight by combining a less drastic reduction in your caloric intake with an increase in your regular physical activities. You don't have to severely limit consumption to lose weight.

A combination of reduced calories and increased exercise has hidden benefits. Many people find that exercise dampens their appetites and that a gradual change to healthier eating habits engenders a positive and lasting lifestyle change.

Some authorities recommend 20-minute sessions of aerobic activity at least 3 times a week to lose weight and advise that slow weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is best for healthy and lasting results.

So forget the fad diets and other restrictive eating patterns and enjoy yourself. Combine a balanced, reduced-calorie menu with increased aerobic exercise and you'll be feeling and looking better for life.

Some beneficial forms of activity are :

  • Low-intensity /long-duration activity to burn fat rather than glycogen stores. Activities along these lines could be walking, running and dancing or similar.
  • Some form of strength training. This could be something as simple as push-ups or pull-ups.

08/03/03

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