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Physical Activity is Essential to Maintain a Healthy Weight

September 23, 2011 by Marc Faktor, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Most people I counsel on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight lean toward diet as a primary means. Caloric restriction and new diet fads are some of the first things they choose to discuss. I love working with these clients as they have already initiated behavior changes and have developed a more serious commitment to healthy living.  With a small amount of education and resources, maintaining a healthy weight is very achievable!

Here are some key points I like to get across:

  • Yes, a negative caloric balance is technically needed to move toward a healthy weight.
  • Healthy eating and caloric restriction alone do produce results in the short term; however, LONG TERM WEIGHT MAINTENANCE IS HARD TO ACHIEVE WITHOUT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY!
    • Do you have a friend or family member who lost 20 lbs, and gained 30-40 the next year? This is very common in individuals who cut calories and neglect physical activity (I will show you why below).

So why does Regular Physical Activity (PA) assist us in maintaining a healthy weight?

  • PA alters our bodies’ physiology and provides invaluable metabolic adaptations that improve energy and macronutrient (e.g. fat, protein, and carbohydrates) stability and regulation.
    • Simply put, PA improves our metabolism and increases our ability to process foods, store essential nutrients and remove waste more efficiently.
    • Fun Fact: Physical Activity has been shown to increase metabolism and caloric expenditure for up to 14 hours after exercise!
  • PA assists in improving appetite control.
  • PA wards off stress and combats stress-induced weight gain.
  • PA improves our mood and increases the quality of sleep (proper sleep is essential for optimal body function and weight maintenance).

I encourage all readers to let the community know how PA has assisted you in maintaining a healthy weight! Additional Reading and References: Dr. Sharma’s (Obesity Expert) Blog Scientific Article: Physical activity plays an important role in body weight regulation Keep Positive, Keep Smiling, and KEEP MOVING!

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