The list of the positive effects of exercise is long and includes lowering your risk for many serious diseases as well as improving your mental health. However, does this list include helping you to lose weight? Well, to grossly oversimplify, the answer is: it depends. But either way, it’s a good idea.
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
Losing weight should be considered as the result of getting rid of the fat on your body. A key part of this is to eat healthy but beyond that, you need to burn the calories that you have accumulated by not exercising and not eating healthy plus the calories that you add every day.
To put it simply, you need to burn more calories than you consume in a day. If you consume 2000 calories per day, but you only burn about 1600 calories per day, your body stores the remaining 400 calories as fat. If your daily grind has resembled this for years and years, you’re probably overweight. Though, because it’s unlikely that you kept track of your calorie intake over the years, it may be more accurate to say that if you are overweight, then your daily grind likely resembled this situation.
Conversely, if you consume 1800 calories per day, but you burn 2000 calories per day by exercising and generally being active (walking around at work, cleaning the house, working in the garden) then you are burning an additional 200 calories. Where do the burned calories come from? They come from the surplus in calories that you have been storing over the years. In effect, you are chipping away at the years of stored calories by burning more calories in a day than you consume.
The Case for Muscle
You may be sitting there thinking that you already have this problem solved and you will just start eating less calories and skip the exercise. Right? Wrong. That might work short term but the negatives grossly outweigh any conceivable positive. As you get older, you lose muscle mass at an alarming rate – as much as 5% each decade after the age of 30. If you have any desire to walk a significant distance or lift anything more than your own arm when you are older, start slowing down that muscle loss now.
Interestingly, right now, as you are reading this, you are burning calories. Even if you are sitting on your couch and have been for the entire day, you’re still burning calories. But you could be doing it more effectively. Meaning, you could be burning even more calories while you are sitting there and not because you doing anything much differently then you are doing now. You see, people who are in better shape burn more calories while they are at rest. This means, that not only are you burning calories while you are exercising but you’re also doing a better of job of the same thing when you’re not exercising.
The answer to the question is yes, if you are also eating properly and exercising as well. The calories that you cut out to create the deficit is easy. Cut out the unhealthy stuff. You will lose fat faster. And remember, losing fat is the way to lose weight.