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Do I have to exercise to lose weight?

Dr. Michael T. Murray, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT Specialist)

Lack of physical activity promotes insulin resistance. Individuals who are sedentary tend to lose insulin sensitivity even if they do not gain significant amounts of weight. Lack of exercise results in a loss of lean body mass and a reduction in the number and efficiency of insulin receptors in various cells throughout the body. Moderate exercise helps to stabilize the appetite, normalize blood sugar levels, and increase muscle mass, thus increasing your metabolic rate. If you want to get off the blood sugar roller coaster and be free from an appetite in overdrive, you need to make a commitment to regular exercise.

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Regular exercise is an important part of both losing and maintaining weight. Regular exercise can help promote a schedule or routine and many people find that structure helps them with both weight loss and maintenance. Regular exercise offers a host of benefits to your health and wellness so you should aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most, if not all, days. Remember that getting regular exercise does not mean you have to spend hours at a gym—it simply means that you make exercise a part of your daily routine in one form or another.

Dr. Pierre Dukan
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

To gradually reduce the volume or weight of a container you have two alternatives: you fill it with less or you take out more. The same logic applies to losing weight. Either you reduce your intake—you eat less and have fewer rich foods—or you use up more energy by being more active and burning up more calories. Ideally you will combine the two. Following the same diet, the more active you are, the more weight you will lose.

You must accept that there is an energy conversion principle between food and exercise. The more active you are and the more calories you burn up, the less you need to limit what you eat and the less you suffer.

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Being regular on your exercise routine does more than help you lose weight. Regular exercise holds you accountable to changing your life. Many people out there want that quick fix, it is the american way.  Lots of people just don't see exercise as a lifestyle change for the better. Exercise should be something like brushing your teeth, just something we need to do every day. Regular exercise will help you lose weight if you hold yourself accountable to the proper weight training program, proper cardiovascular program and essential meal planning. Over time this won't be just a goal or quick fix but a new habit you can't live with out.

The healthiest and most effective way to lose weight is a balance of exercise and proper diet. You can lose weight without the exercise component but it generally does not work as long term solution. Exercise helps control your weight by using excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Fluctuations in your weight are determined by the number calories you eat every day minus the calories your body uses. Exercise will not only burn extra calories but can help stabilize your appetite, blood sugar and increase muscle mass which should increase your metabolism.

Beth Oliver
Fitness Specialist

We all need exercise, regardless of if we are trying to lose weight or not. The simplest way to view weight loss is that you need to expend more energy (calories) than you take in. Exercise, of course, helps you burn calories—which makes the process more efficient. Strictly speaking, weight loss can occur without exercise, but it is not my general recommendation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.