22 July, 2008

How does exercise help you lose body fat?

Regulates appetite: Although some people mistakenly think that exercise increases appetite to the point that extra food eaten will negate the number of calories burned, this is not the case. Exercise actually regulates your appetite helping you eat fewer calories.

Increases metabolism: Also untrue is the belief that exercise is not worth the effort because of the relatively small number of calories used. For example, walking burns about five calories a minute. Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, it would seem that you would have to walk 11 1/2 hours to lose a pound. The truth is that even moderate exercise creates an 8-fold increase in your metabolic rate (calorie burning) for hours after the exercise. This residual effect, not the exercise itself, is its greatest benefit of exercise for burning calories.

Maintains Muscle: The movement involved with exercise requires you to use your muscles, which causes the necessary physiological changes for muscle to maintain (or even increase) its size and strength. Since every pound of muscle requires 50-100 calories per day to sustain itself and since fat is burned almost exclusively in your muscles, maintaining your muscle is crucial to losing body fat. Without exercise, you'll lose muscle and reduce your ability to burn fat. When it comes to your muscle, you either "use it or lose it."

Increases Fat-Burning Enzymes: Muscles have very specific enzymes which burn only fat. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have far more fat-burning enzymes in their muscles than people who don't exercise. In other words, exercise causes your body to "beef up" its ability to burn fat more efficiently. This means that the more you use your muscles with exercise, the more fat-burning enzymes your muscles develop to burn more fat.

Changes the Body's Chemistry: Exercise positively affects a number of hormones in your body which are related to fat storage such as insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol. Endorphins, small morphine-like chemicals, are secreted with exercise and can also help reduce fat storage, as well as create a feeling of well-being and alleviate stress. Exercise also speeds food transit time through the intestines to complete the digestive cycle which reduces the chances for digestive disorders and bowel cancer.

The benefits of exercise go way beyond losing body fat. A fit body responds differently to things than a fat body. Things like cholesterol, sugar, salt, etc. simply don't affect someone who's fit the way they do someone who's fat. From a health standpoint, exercise positively affects every organ in your body. Exercise also improves your sleeping patterns, energy level, and overall feeling of well being. The more you do, the more you will want to do as the benefits continue to increase and you get the results you're after. In short, exercise is a must for losing body fat as well as improving the overall quality of life. It will add years to your life and life to your years.

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