So you've lost the weight, and you're feeling great, but are you ready for the next challenge, keeping it off? Staying consistent with your exercise routine, especially weight training exercise, might be the key to your continued success.
A new study shows that consistent exercise can alter the body's response to weight loss and potentially stop unwanted pounds from creeping back on. The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise and offers good news about exercise and body weight. Most Registered Dietitians will agree that to lose weight, you must reduce calories, whether you exericse or not. Take in fewer calories than your body burns and you will lose weight. The general rule of thumb is create a 500 calorie deficit in calories in vs calories out to lose on average 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Unfortunately, as you get smaller your body burns less calories because there is less of you. So after losing weight, your body burns fewer calories througout the day than it did before, because you have less body mass using energy. Fitness Training becomes imperitive during this stage of the journey. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham decided to closely study the effects of exercise during that pivotal time just after someone reaches their goal weight.
They began by recruiting about 100 overweight, sedentary women, all of whom agreed to undertake a strict diet of only 800 calories a day. The group was divided into thirds. One third of the women were asked not to exercise at all. Another third began a supervised cardio program consisting of about 40 minutes of walking/jogging on a treadmill three times a week. The final third started supervised weight training three times per week.
Each woman, regardless of the group she was in, stayed on the 800 calorie diet until she lost 25 pounds. At that point, she continued to follow the exercise instructions and transitioned for a month to a customized, supervised diet designed for maintenance.
The findings... women in the non-exercise group didn't move much at all throughout their days. The women who did cardio exercise continued moving throughout their days so the calories they burned outside of exercise was significant. However the women who weight trained moved the most, movement felt easier for them and their bodies continued burning through calories more efficiently. Overall, the data suggests exercise, particularly weight training, after weight loss prompts people to move more throughout the day thus burning more calories, and with some discipline about food intake, should stave off weight gain. It seems clear that weight training has a positive effect on weight management overall.
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