Aerobic exercise is the type that most immediately impacts on many aspects of life, including weight control. It is the kind in which you get out of breath, your heart beats faster and you may work up a bit of a sweat. More about aerobic-type exercise here.
One of the biggest benefits that aerobic exercise brings is an increased level of fitness and, with that, a changed attitude towards life. More of a bounce, or feeling that things are definitely moving the right way. This makes it far more likely that you will persevere in your weight loss programme.
For a while, you may feel that it is a bit of a drag. A chore. Something to fit into an already busy day. As your fitness increases and you start to feel so much better than you did before, so you will come to look forward to the exercise. If you cannot do it for a while, you will miss it. It will not be a chore any more!
Does Exercise Help Lose Weight?
There is a difference of opinion among health specialists as to the importance, or otherwise, of exercise in weight reduction and control. (See more here.) There is, though, no difference of opinion at all as to the huge benefits to health and well-being that proper exercise brings. Even quite small amounts can produce dramatic results.
Intangible But Real Benefits of Exercise
- Known to reduce depression, stress and anxiety.
- Can help with sleep problems
- It will increase energy and stamina.
- Appearance will, over time, improve considerably.
- More vitality.
- Ability to concentrate increases
These intanglible but real benefits lead to increased self-confidence and a feeling of achievement-
The Risks of Lack of Exercise
Most well-known health organisations advocate exercise for everyone. This is because of the tremendous benefits that exercise brings, both physically and psychologically. The benefits include sharp reduction in the chances of various serious health conditions.
Exercise Leads to Reduced Risk of Serious Health Problems
The potentially disastrous consequences of lack of exercise are now well-known.
The UK National Health Service, for example, says the following:
"It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
• up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
• as much as 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
• up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
• up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
• a 30% lower risk of early death
• up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
• up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
• a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
• up to a 30% lower risk of depression
• up to a 30% lower risk of dementia. "
(With thanks to the UK NHS)
There is no mention there of weight loss or control, though the NHS does advocate exercise for this as well elsewhere. Probably the majority of health experts do suggest than exercise is beneficial for losing or controlling weight. See here.
Most of the potentially serious conditions shown here are caused or aggravated by being overweight or obese. Overweight or obesity are more likely in those who do no or insufficient exercise, so it is obvious that it is a very big mistake to ignore this connection.
Lack of Exercise vs Obesity as Cause of Death
The British Heart Foundation published news of the results of a study by researchers at Cambridge University. This study found that lack of exercise was the attributable cause of twice as many deaths in Europe as obesity. The study also estimated that just a 20-minute brisk walk every day would reduce the chances of premature death by between 16% and 30%.
Summary of Health Benefits of Exercise
- Losing, or controlling, weight.
- Reducing chances of getting serious health issues shown above.
- The intangible, but very real, benefits shown above.
It is possible to argue about the exact contribution of exercise to weight. Indeed, health experts do argue about this, often vehemently. There is, though, total unanimity among them on the beneficial effects of exercise on overall health and quality of life. Anyone who has allowed themselves to get seriously out of shape and then takes up an exercise programme can attest to this.