Which is the best way to go about losing weight: focus on calorie intake or exercise?
We’re still in January, which means it’s that time of the year when all those New Year’s resolutions must be kicked into high gear. People around the world hit the gym, dust off the weight scales, and ponder about the age-old problem of losing weight.
While people seem to be less concerned about what needs to be done in order to keep the lost pounds off, the focus is on which is more important between setting a regular workout schedule and keeping a close eye on your diet.
For starters, let’s talk about exercise. There are two main categories of exercise and three exercise goal, according to the US government physical activity guidelines. There’s aerobic exercise – full-body physical activity that increases your heart rate – which you should be doing at least 2 and a half hours per week in a moderate pace.
Then there’s resistance training, which aims at strengthening major muscle groups. The guidelines recommend adults to include this type of exercises at least twice per week. Due to the health hazards of the sedentary culture we live in, recommendations also encourage people to reduce their sedentary activities as much as possible.
All activities associated with the sitting position which require low levels of energy and burn almost no calories are included in the definition of the sedentary behavior. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, being sedentary is a risk factor for prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and heart and blood-vessel diseases.
But then diet gets in the equation, causing the debate in question. The bottom line, simply explained by a recent British Journal of Sports Medicine editorial, is this “You cannot outrun a bad diet. . . . [Exercise] isn’t enough when it comes to losing weight or staying healthy.”
Even a healthy eating plan won’t do you much good if you eat more calories than your body burns. Jim White, a registered dietitian nutritionist and exercise physiologist, explained that research points to the combination of a “calorie-conscious healthy-eating plan and adequate exercise” for the best results in losing weight.
In other words, you can’t really lose weight in a healthy way that’s going to last without being willing to make some changes in diet. But at the same time, the role of exercise in helping you keep those pounds off is also essential.
Good luck on your weight-loss efforts in 2016!
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