Diet vs. Exercise | Putting A Plan Together
Obesity in adults and children is a national problem. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 78 million adults and 12.5 million children, which is almost 17 percent of that segment of the population, are obese. It should come as no surprise that almost half all adults have tried some weight loss method within the past year. The two most popular methods for losing weight were diet and exercise, so let’s look at the two methods to determine the winner, if any, between diet vs. exercise.
Diet vs. Exercise | It Might Not Be A Contest
The National Weight Control Registry is an ongoing study conducted by researchers at two universities that has been tracking how people who lost weight and kept it off to learn how they were successful. Their findings reveal that only 1 percent of people in the study lost weight and kept it off only through exercise. Only 10 percent were successful with diet alone, but 89 percent succeeded using a combination of diet and exercise.
It is wrong to focus on weight loss and conclude that exercise is not important to you. Exercise and physical activity play a vital role in keeping you healthy. There are many benefits of exercising on a regular basis, including the following:
- Contributes to weight loss by increasing the calories your body burns
- Contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Chemicals release within your body during strenuous exercise reduces stress levels and improves your overall mood
- Improves brain function
- Helps maintain muscle tone to reduce the risk of falls in older individuals
Jogging two miles in the morning is not going to burn enough calories to make up for a breakfast sandwich, home fries, and coffee with cream and sugar from a fast food chain, so you need to take a look at your diet and nutrition if you want to achieve your goal of losing weight.
Cardio vs. Strength Training
The best physical activities to engage in as part of a diet and exercise regime to lose weight are those that burn the most calories. Lifting weights helps maintain muscle tone, contributes to better balance and has other health benefits, but it does not burn enough calories to make a significant contribution to your weight loss program.
Aerobic exercise, also referred to as cardio, burns calories by working your heart and lungs over extended periods of time. Typical cardio exercises include walking, running, bicycling, climbing stairs and other activities that make your heart, muscles, and lungs work longer and harder than normal.
What You Should Know About Metabolism To Lose Weight
Your metabolism plays an important role in determining whether you gain or lose weight. The rate at which your body burns calories is not constant throughout your life. The aging process usually results in a slowing of your metabolic rate, which affects the ability of your body to burn calories. If you are 60 years old and consuming the same number of calories you consumed when you were 20, chances are the expansion in your waistline is due to the inability of your body to burn those calories because your metabolism is slower.
It is possible to increase your metabolic rate through nutrition. Fish, chicken and other low-fat, high-protein foods improve your metabolism. Switching to a high-protein diet might not help achieve your weight loss goals if you also consume high amounts of carbohydrates, such as sugars, bread and that donut you could not resist.
Simple carbohydrates tend to be stored by the body as fat because of their high sugar content, but complex carbohydrates, including fruit, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, actually good for you. The difference is that complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to process, so they provide more energy over a longer time.
Finding The Right Combination Of Diet Vs. Exercise
The key to a successful weight loss plan is to achieve a balance between diet and exercise that allows your body to burn more calories than you consume during the day. Reducing your caloric intake too drastically can adversely affect your health. A better way to lose weight is to reduce calories through changes in your diet while increasing the number of calories your body burns through exercise or an increase in strenuous physical activities.
Instead of focusing on cutting calories out of your diet, it has been suggested that reducing calories by burning them through exercise along with a dietary reduction in caloric intake achieves better results for people attempting to lose weight. The plan reduces calories by 20 percent through exercise and 80 percent through diet.
If you wish to achieve a daily reduction in calories you can reduce your caloric intake by that amount, but a better method is the 80/20 plan. This method suggests exercising enough to burn 20 percent of the calories and cut the remaining 80 percent by watching what you eat during and between meals. The result is a balance between diet or nutrition, which has been proven to be essential to shedding pounds with exercise that is important to overall health and wellness.
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