To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.Exercise can help you achieve this by burning off some extra calories.However, some people claim that exercise isn’t effective for weight loss on its own.This may be because exercise increases hunger in some people, making them eat more calories than they burned during the workout.Is exercise really helpful for weight loss? This article takes a look at the evidence.

Think Fat Loss, Not Weight Loss

Exercise is often advised for weight loss, but people should really aim for fat loss If you simply reduce your calorie intake to lose weight, without exercising, you will probably lose muscle as well as fatIn fact, it’s been estimated that when people lose weight, about a quarter of the weight they lose is muscle When you cut back on calories, your body is forced to find other sources of fuel. Unfortunately, this means burning muscle protein along with your fat stores .Including an exercise plan alongside your diet can reduce the amount of muscle you lose

This is also important because muscle is more metabolically active than fat.

Preventing muscle loss can help counter the drop in metabolic rate that occurs when you lose weight, which makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off Additionally, most of the benefits of exercise seem to come from improvements in body composition, overall fitness and metabolic health, not just weight loss Even if you don’t lose “weight,” you may still be losing fat and building muscle instead.For this reason, it can be helpful to measure your waist size and body fat percentage from time to time. The scale doesn’t tell the whole story.

Cardio Helps You Burn Calories and Body Fat

One of the most popular types of exercise for weight loss is aerobic exercise, also known as cardio. Examples include walking, running, cycling and swimming.Aerobic exercise doesn’t have a major effect on your muscle mass, at least not compared to weight lifting. However, it is very effective at burning calories.A recent 10-month study examined how cardio affected 141 obese or overweight people. They were split into three groups and not told to reduce calorie intake Group 1 participants lost 4.3% of their body weight, while those in group 2 lost a little more at 5.7%. The control group, which didn’t exercise, actually gained 0.5%.

Other studies also show cardio can help you burn fat, especially the dangerous belly fat that increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease Therefore, adding cardio to your lifestyle is likely to help you manage your weight and improve your metabolic health. Just don’t compensate for the exercise by eating more calories instead

Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight? The Surprising Truth