Sunday, March 14, 2010


There has been some recent articles in the newspaper and online on the merits of exercise and whether you can lose weight by just exercising.  Exercise has many benefits and some major studies in the United States have shown that people who have lost weight and keep it off include exercise as part of their daily routine.  These individuals also weigh themselves on a regular basis and are careful in not being complacent and slowly putting the pounds back on.  They do keep track of what they eat. 

The recent articles go into detail on how much exercise you have to do to lose a pound – how many miles walked or jogged and knowing that walking one mile burns 100 calories so you would need to walk 35 miles to burn one pound. But if you decrease your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you will lose one pound a week.  This is also based on that you are maintaining your weight and you are not in a gaining mode.  Using averages based on a job that does not require heavy labour, and is more sedentary, her age, height and weight, the average middle aged women would likely need about 2,000 calories a day to maintain her weight.  To lose a pound a week, she would need to consume 1,500 calories a day.  It is interesting when you start to track what you are eating each day and what it would take to find that 500 calories.  For myself, I can target food that contains sugar, nuts, breads, starchy vegetables or pasta to find the 500 calories.  The other way to find the extra calories is the portion sizes we consume.  We need to eat smaller portions and less food, especially high caloric food.  A food scale and a one cup measuring cup are handy tools to remind us on the quantity of food we are consuming.  I like using a measuring cup to track my consumption of pasta or rice.     

If you are looking to lose weight, just exercising won’t incur a weight lose.  You do need to decrease your caloric consumption.   I do think that there are many benefits associated with exercising – toning and strengthening muscles, burning calories, relieving stress, is good for your heart, you get to be outdoors, increases endurance and capacity, is fun, provides a sense of accomplishment and increases your metabolism.   One of the best motivators for exercising and to get outside is to get a dog.  

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