Exercise and Obesity

Posted by Blog Monday, February 21, 2011

Imagine a lineup of all the adults in your neighborhood. Look up and down the line. If you are anything like other Americans, two out of three of you are overweight or obese.

Obesity is a terrible health hazard, and, if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s growing fast in the United States. As our waistlines expand, our wallets empty to purchase a bewildering variety of diet books, special foods, and unregulated diet pills and potions. Everyone who shells out for a quick fix is headed for disappointment.Don’t fall for the weight-loss shell game. There is no quick fix. Instead, weight loss requires a long-term commitment to diet and exercise..

Dr. Atkins notwithstanding, the “C” word is not carbs but calories. To lose weight, you need to burn up more calories than you take in. The math is unforgiving, the progress slow, and the lifestyle changes substantial. But it works. The National Weight Control Registry maintains a roster of people who have succeeded where so many fail. About four thousand Americans are on the list. On average, they have lost sixty-seven pounds each and have kept it off for more than five years. How did they win at the losing game? Their methods vary, but a few themes are common: adhering to low-fat, calorie-restricted menus; eating breakfast; weighing themselves regularly; and getting lots of exercise, typically by walking for an hour a day.

For now, just look in the mirror and consider three facts about exercise and body fat:

1. Even without dieting, exercise can help. A 2000 Canadian study, for example, found that volunteers who participated in an exercise program without changing their diets lost an average of sixteen pounds in twelve weeks. That took about an hour of daily exercise. But you can do as well or better with half as much exercise if you also cut

2. Exercise is most effective at reducing abdominal fat. And when you reduce abdominal obesity with exercise
(and diet), you’ll earn the metabolic benefits that reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses.

3. When it comes to exercise for weight loss, more is better. It’s just a case of the math: burn more calories,
lose more weight. Remember, though, that you will undo your gains if you eat more. Fortunately, exercise itself won’t make that happen; if anything, physical activity is more likely to reduce your appetite than to stimulate it. Remember, too, that according to a 2001 Dutch study, people who perform steady, moderate exercise are more likely to lose weight than people who burn the same number of calories with briefer, more intense bursts of activity.

More About Exercise:

Exercise, your body,and your Health

Exercise and Your Body


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