So, it's 6 PM and you're already tried. You’re finishing your meeting, picking up the kids, and preparing dinner after a full day’s work. You know you probably should work out but you’re so exhausted and need to prepare for tomorrow. So the question is, do you have to work out to lose weight?
If your only goal is to lose weight then no, you do not have to work out to lose weight. Weight loss is governed by calories-in (or the calories you eat) vs calories-out (or your calories burned). Calories-in is controlled by the foods and drinks you consume. Calories-out includes your calories burned at rest, calories burned to do normal daily activities, calories burned from digesting foods, AND calories burned through exercise. You can still eat fewer calories than you burn without working out.
Think of your calorie intake vs calories burned like a budget. You need to spend more than you earn each day so your body dips into its savings (your fat deposits). Working out increases your calorie spend, making it easier to dip into your savings. Otherwise, you need to lower your caloric intake to have the same effect.
So, if you can succeed in weight loss without exercise...why bother?
Increased calorie expenditure
Let’s start at the simplest benefit. Working out burns more calories. This means you have more room to fit your favorite foods into your diet while still being successful. This is how we can have our cake and eat it too!
Increased muscle and bone strength
Working out builds more than “show” muscles! It also helps build stronger bones. You are going to be able to move around and navigate life’s obstacles easier. It will help increase your balance and prevent muscle loss as you age!
Not only do you burn more calories working out, but muscle also burns more calories while you’re just sitting around. One pound of muscle burns around 10 calories while one pound of fat burns around 2 calories. While this accounts for a small portion of your total intake, the more muscle you build the higher your metabolism will go!
Improved insulin response
Working out can make your body more insulin sensitive! Insulin is a shuttle hormone that helps our bodies use the sugars from the foods we eat for energy. This is very helpful for controlling your blood sugar levels and can lower your risk for heart disease or nerve damage.
Increased energy and stamina
It’s easy to get worn down when you’re going all over the place. Exercising can help make your daily activities easier. Working out can improve your cardiovascular system, helping your body deliver oxygen to your muscles and tissues. You’ll be able to walk and move around more efficiently, leaving more energy for the things you love doing!
Improved mental state
The concept of working out can seem overwhelming. It’s daunting to try something difficult and new. Luckily, working out helps reduce those feelings of anxiety! Exercising can decrease your risk of depression and anxiety and even help you sleep better. Plus, exercising can keep your thinking, learning, and decision-making skills as sharp as ever as you age.
Is working out necessary to lose weight? No. Is working out helpful in improving weight loss, improving your mood, improving your energy, and helping you make the most out of your supplements? Obvi.
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