At the risk of beating the exercise drum to death, I have one more topic that I think deserves some thought: Exercise and Weight.
It is true that exercise burns calories. And that does help with weight loss. But there is an even greater benefit at play here that is less gratifying because it is less immediate. But it is powerful long term.
And really, the way I should title this post is “Exercise and Body Composition.” While the scale is a useful tool, the real health gains are in fat loss, not just weight loss. Weight loss without exercise results in both fat and muscle tissue loss. Loss of muscle tissue results in lower metabolism. Weight loss with exercise, on the other hand, results in almost all of the lost weight being from a reduction in the fat tissue. And by at least maintaining if not building muscle tissue, metabolism is maintained or improved.
So, while exercise in most cases does play a supporting role to diet when a person is seeking to achieve a healthy weight, it is still important. According to the CDC, one the weight is lost, maintaining a healthy weight is VERY related to how fit a person is. It just takes more calories to keep muscle tissue alive even at rest. So a more fit individual is burning more calories just sitting on the couch not even using those muscles! In the short term, it isn’t much. But over months and years, that extra calorie burn can really add up!
I encourage clients to not be discouraged when they don’t see the immediate effects of exercise in their weight loss. As long as their dietary choices are on par, it is actually a good sign. They are creating a more fit and lean body and the weight will come off as their new metabolism kicks in!
Katie Kolb - Health Coach