Keep Moving to Manage Your Weight

You can lose weight by dieting, exercising, or a combination of both. Including exercise into your daily routine offers other benefits besides weight control: it boosts your stamina, increases your muscle strength, improves your balance and your mood, and can reduce your risk for some cancers.

Exercise helps build lean muscle. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat so the more muscle mass you have the more calories you burn. If you don't exercise, or slack off on your exercise routine, you lose lean muscle and may end up adding on fat. Alternatively, by keeping active, you keep your metabolism ramped up to burn calories.

Be sure to check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Watch your calories

Even with exercise, you still need to watch how many calories you eat. One way to reduce your daily calories is to keep your fat intake to no more than 30 percent of your daily calories. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, and carbohydrates contain only 4 calories per gram. So, by cutting down on fat, you can cut down on total calories. Just be careful not to replace all those calories from fat that you are avoiding with an equal number of calories from carbohydrates.

Exert yourself

Without physical activity, your metabolism slows with age, leaving you less healthy -- and looking like it. If you don't exercise, it is difficult to manage your weight.

A lot of people blame their spreading middle on a metabolism genetically locked in slow gear. But you can kick that metabolism into high gear with moving more each day. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther from the store and walking.

Combine weights and aerobics

To raise your metabolism and build more muscle mass, try lifting small dumbbells, combined with aerobic training.

Start with dumbbells weighing between 2 and 5 pounds each. Try two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for each exercise for the first three weeks to a month. After this, you can add more weight and more sets of each exercise. Include aerobic exercise such as walking, running, bicycling or swimming. Ideally, this should be done for 60 minutes most days of the week. But remember, doing something is better than no exercise at all.

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