By Candice Csaky
When it comes to sustained weight loss, you need to do two things — eat well and exercise. You can shed weight initially by altering your diet, but there’s more to gain from working out than just sweating off pounds. Exercise can improve your mood, boost your energy, facilitate better sleep and prevent various health problems.
Where to Start
Pick something you love that doesn’t feel like exercise, such as gardening, hiking with a friend, walking the dog or dancing, and enjoy it a few times a week. Begin to incorporate more movement throughout your day by walking during your lunch break and taking the stairs when possible.
Set and Sustain a Caloric Deficit
You’ll need to consume fewer calories or burn enough to have a calorie deficit if you want to lose weight. Restricting too many calories, however, can reduce important nutrients your body needs and may even lead to muscle loss. On the other hand, proper exercise, particularly strength training, can help you lose weight and build and maintain healthy muscle mass.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Exercise routines that involve high-intensity interval training may be more effective for weight loss. Interval training is pretty simple. You start with any cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, cycling or using the elliptical or other aerobic machines, and sprinkle in bursts of intensity.
For example, if you’re a jogger, push yourself to run hard for 30 seconds every three minutes. The added intensity gives your resting metabolism rate a boost, which means you’ll continue burning calories long after your workout is complete.
Always remember to consult your health care professional before beginning an exercise or weight loss program.