The Problem With Exercising To Lose Weight – And Reasons To Do So Anyway

For most people, exercising and choosing effective weight loss programs appears to be less important than cutting calories when it comes to losing weight. Nevertheless, even though eating fewer calories generally leads to faster weight loss than only boosting physical activity levels, getting regular exercise during weight loss efforts is still advisable. 

The Problem With Exercising to Shed Pounds

Exercise does burn calories, of course. Unfortunately, most types of exercise don't burn all that much compared with the number of calories people consume in foods and beverages. 

For example, a person who weighs 185 lbs. uses about:

  • 270 calories per hour of weightlifting or playing noncompetitive volleyball
  • 400 calories per hour of badminton or walking four miles in an hour
  • 500 calories in an hour of low-impact aerobics
  • 530 calories per hour of general swimming
  • 700 calories in an hour of bicycling at 12 miles per hour

These are beneficial activities, to be certain. However, consider that a person must use about 3,500 calories more than he or she consumes to lose one pound. That means having to swim six or seven days a week for an hour each time to lose one pound if calorie intake isn't reduced. Many people simply don't have that kind of time -- or motivation.

Drinking even one 12-oz. can of sugared soda adds back in 140 calories of those burned off. One ounce of potato chips -- or a single-serve bag -- adds around 150.

Reasons to Exercise During a Weight Loss Quest 

Speeding Up Results

When you see the numbers in regard to calorie burning through exercise, it may feel discouraging. It may seem pointless to spend half an hour walking every day after work. However, you'll still use up more calories during that half hour than if you just sat on the couch watching TV. That will speed up your weight loss results. 

Improving Your Health

Your body is meant to move. Impact activity such as taking walks is good for bone density and strength. Aerobic activity strengthens your cardiovascular system. Regular exercise also can help regulate cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. 

Boosting Your Mood

Exercise is a mood enhancer. That can be important if you're inclined to indulge in emotional eating, which involves eating when you're bored, depressed or anxious. 

Concluding Thoughts

Reducing calorie intake as part of a healthy lifestyle change is advantageous if you're overweight compared with exercise alone. Combining a healthy diet and additional exercise in your routine will get you to your weight loss goal faster and has other beneficial effects as well.