The Reality about Losing Weight With ExercisePosted: November 9, 2009 in Getting Active by Craig Primack MD FACP
Every pound you want to lose is protected by a 3,500-calorie barrier. Through diet and exercise, you can break that barrier and begin to reduce your weight in a healthy way. But how much do you need to exercise in order to lose the weight? How much impact can your exercise really have and is joining a gym the right way to lose weight?
Let’s say your goal is to lose two pounds every week. That means you have to expend 7,000 more calories through activities than you take in through eating. Everything you do is an activity-sleeping, watching television, working and, of course, exercising.
The Truth about Exercise and Calories
A 200-pound person who walks at a rate of three miles per hour for 30 minutes will burn a total of 198 calories. If the person were to do this five days a week, he or she would burn a total of 990 calories a week. A higher-intensity exercise like swimming can be done instead in order to burn more calories. One hour of swimming five days a week would burn 2,760 calories over the course of the week. Both are a far cry from the 7,000 calories needed to lose two pounds.
Five Day Workout
So where does that put the person who wants to lose weight through exercise? How can that person burn enough calories to make a dent in their weight loss goals?
Using the example we have already created, we could develop a work out plan that burns a total of 7,500 calories per week-slightly more than you need in order to burn two pounds. Here is the workout:
- Each day, walk at a rate of three miles per hour for a total of one hour.
- Swim for two hours each day.
Unless you are paid to spend three hours each day dedicated to exercise, chances are the five day workout is not practical for your life. Even if you can find the motivation to exercise at this intensity, very few of us could spare the time and in most cases our bodies simply could not hold together under such an assault.
Where does Exercise fit with a Weight Loss Program?
Exercise is one of the key ingredients for successfully maintaining weight loss over the long-term. Without developing the habit of increased activity and regular exercise, any weight lost through dieting will often return. However, the idea that joining a gym is an efficient and achievable way to lose significant amounts of weight is not realistic for most people.
Keep this in mind when considering a gym membership as opposed to a serious medical weight loss program. If you are maintaining your weight then it is probably a good investment. If you plan to use this membership to lose excess pounds — you have a long road ahead of you.