Exercise for Weight Maintenance
Most weight loss occurs with a modification in diet; however, evidence shows the best way to maintain weight loss is to engage in regular physical activity.
We all know and understand the importance of physical activity; it helps reduce stress and anxiety, can reduce high blood pressure, reduce risk of cardiovascular events and type II diabetes. I think many individuals struggle with keeping weight off because they are not engaging in regular physical activity.
I always tell my patients to find something they enjoy doing, and not to stress themselves out with trying to learn something new, or sign up for a gym membership right away. Start small and take baby steps towards learning and engaging in a new exercise regimen, even if that means taking your dog for a 10 minute walk 3 times per week.
I hear time and time again, “I am working with a trainer 3 days per week and still am not losing weight”. Just remember that exercise will not be your best tool to lose weight, but it will be your BEST tool for maintaining weight loss.
Physical activity comes in many forms… weight lifting, cardio, zumba, crossfit, yoga, cycling, barre classes etc.
For me, personally, I have found a love for weightlifting. It has been a way for me to grow both physically and mentally. There are so many options out there and you owe it to yourself to get out there and explore them.
Weight training was extremely intimidating at first. Figuring out what equipment to use, how to use it, what exercises are most effective and how to execute the exercises safely. If this is something that overwhelms you, go to a group class, seek out a personal trainer or watch YouTube videos to help you get started.
Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) is beneficial for a number of reasons:
- Increases/preserves lean muscle mass
- As you gain lean muscle mass, you are also up-regulating your metabolism- it’s a win-win!
- You will feel good about yourself
- When you exercise your body releases those feel good chemicals called endorphins, plus you will gain confidence and strength with each workout.
- Decreases injury risk
- As you increase muscle mass, you will protect your joints from injury which will help you maintain your independence as you age. Building lean muscle mass also helps increase bone density, which is great for preventing and treating osteoporosis.
I hope you can find a form of exercise to incorporate into your daily lifestyle. Most people find that they feel better if they move a bit more and gain strength. Weight management is a journey and we have all the tools necessary to be successful, but don’t be afraid to ask for some help!
by Kristin Coggins, RDN