If you want to reduce your body fat, focus on increasing the amount of exercise you get rather than decreasing your food intake. A recent national study was done using two groups of sedentary men, one group in their 20’s and the other over age 65. A lot was learned from this accumulated data and it is interesting to note that there was a significant relationship between lack of physical activity and fat. Not surprisingly, the most sedentary men had the most body fat.
These studies have also indicated that the governments current recommended daily allowance for calories does not correlate with the body’s actual energy needs. For example, although 2400 calories have been calculated for older men, they in fact burned an average of 2800 calories daily.
The leading experts now recommend that people who want to lose weight start increasing their physical activity. Just being more active in general (such as climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, moving around instead of sitting still, sitting up instead of lying down as well as showing some excitement and enthusiasm instead of boredom), are things that more effectively burns calories and reduces body fat. Everyone seems to have lost sight of the value of being active. Consider this, a half-hour aerobic workout accounts for far less energy expenditure than our minute-to-minute movement in the office or at home.
Millions of Americans are trying to lose weight, spending approximately $30 billion a year on diet programs and products, often they do lose some weight. But, if you check with the same people five years later, you will find that nearly all have regained whatever weight they lost. A national panel recently sought data to determine if any commercial diet program could prove long-term success. Not a single program could do so.Being seriously overweight and particularly obesity predisposes individuals to a number of diseases and serious health problems, and it’s now a known fact that when caloric intake is excessive, some of the excess frequently is saturated fat.
People who diet without exercising often get fatter with time. Although your weight may initially drop while dieting, such weight loss consists mostly of water and muscle. When the weight returns, it comes back as fat. To avoid getting fatter over time, increase your metabolism by exercising regularly.
Walking is one of the best exercises for strengthening bones, controlling weight, toning the leg muscles, maintaining good posture and improving positive self-concept. To lose weight, it’s more important to walk for time than speed. Walking at a moderate pace yields longer workouts with less soreness - leading t more miles and more fat worked off on a regular basis. High intensity walks on alternate days help condition one’s system. But in a walking, weight-loss program, you are not requried to walk an hour every day as some people would have you believe.
When it comes to good health and weight loss, exercise and diet are inter-related. Exercising without maintaining a balanced diet is no more beneficial than dieting whle remaining inactive.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.