8 Reasons to Exercise and Increase Your Activity Levels
As someone who’s always lived life a little on the larger side, I know all too well the struggle of losing weight and trying to keep it off. But look, you can’t blame a man for loving his grub! Growing up I was never one to turn down food and always had a huge appetite, and that never left me. As a young lad I was always the bigger kid and I can honestly say I was definitely overweight, but thankfully it doesn’t always need to stay that way. There’s plenty we can do to lose those unwanted pounds and keep them off. Does that mean its always going to be easy? No, but it is possible and very much within our control. I’m going to outline the 8 main benefits of being more active and share with you the techniques that have helped me and can help you lose weight and keep it off in the long term, without turning your life upside down.
When we think about activity the first thing that comes to mind is exercise, but activity is so much more than that. Being more active encompasses so much more than hitting the gym, a hard spin class or a 45-minute bootcamp. Activity involves everything you do throughout the day. From your job to your hobbies, housework to playing with your children, or even deciding to park at the far end of the carpark at the supermarket. Your activity encompasses how much you move throughout your entire day and here’s how upping your activity can really help with losing those pounds.
- Increased ActivityBurns More Calories
Ultimately fat loss comes down to burning more calories than you eat. But that doesn’t always mean you need to eat less or follow restrictive diets, and as I’m someone who thinks with his stomach, I’m sure you can imagine how happy I was to learn that. In fact, for most people, simply increasing their activity levels can be more than enough to tip the scale in the right direction and get you off to a good start with losing those unwanted pounds.
- Being More Active CanHelp You Eat Less
Being more active throughout your day may help you eat less. There was a study published back in 1956 by Mayer et al. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/13302165/) that looked at the relationship between activity level and food intake in 213 mill workers in West Bengal. What they noticed was the more active they were the more they ate, but that was only within a certain range from lightly active to very active. However, those who were sedentary or did little to no activity ate far more and as a result weighed more. So being more active might help people eat less, or more appropriately for their activity level.
3.Increases Energy & Mood
We’ve all heard this so much its nearly a cliché at this point, but its so true. Being more active really does help with improving overall mood and increasing our energy levels, and when we feel good, we want to do more. This results in a domino effect that makes it easier to stay active in the long run. Yes, it can be difficult at the beginning but the longer we do it the easier it gets – trust me!
Benefits of Exercise
You may be thinking, “But what about workouts?”. Exercise and workouts definitely have multiple benefits and really help when it comes to fat loss, so don’t throw those workout plans out just yet. Workouts really help us both physically and mentally and if done right can be fun, enjoyable and give us something to track so we know we’re going in the right direction, as well as keeping us accountable and motivated. Now let’s look at 5 reasons exercise can help you both lose weight and keep it off.
4. Exercise Keeps the Weight Off
Exercise can really help with keeping the weight off, and this makes perfect sense. If you’re purposefully spending time during your day to work hard and make progress you’re not going to want to over-eat and set yourself back. So by keeping up a good exercise plan even after you’ve lost weight, you’re keeping yourself motivated, accountable and setting yourself up for long term success.
5. Exercise Builds Muscle
While increasing your overall activity is great for fat loss, it’s not going to build much muscle. This is where workouts and exercise come into their own. Muscle itself is great for burning fat and helping us keep the weight off long-term. The bigger and stronger your muscles are the more you can lift, the faster you can run, the higher you can jump and ultimately as a result of the former, the more calories you can burn. So while exercise itself doesn’t burn a lot of calories, being stronger and fitter as a result of more muscle will increase our capacity to work and ultimately help you burn more fat and keep that weight off.
6. Improved Motivation
Having a workout plan or schedule can really help you stay motivated and accountable. Sometimes its hard to see change in our bodies and it takes time, but having an exercise plan like a gym workout, a running schedule, or fitness classes you can join along to, you can soon see and feel yourself getting fitter and stronger, running further and faster, and keeping up with your favourite instructor (obviously me!!) in your favourite class. Feeling and experiencing these improvements can definitely help keep you motivated as you lose weight and help you keep it off long term.
7. Relieves Stress
We’ve all had those days where things just get on top of us, and we need to vent and let loose. Hard workouts as well as some of the gentler kinds can be a huge help with relieving stress. In some people stress can also trigger increased hunger, so being able to utilise exercise like walking or workouts as a means of relieving stress can really help prevent over-eating and ultimately help you lose weight. Again being a man of the larger variety with an appetite that rivals that of the average hippo, being able to keep my hunger signalling under control is a huge asset to keeping the weight off.
8. Improves Sleep
Just like stress, a lack of sleep can have quite the effect on hunger and really ramp it up. Just by upping your exercise by a little bit, to help relieve stress but also help tire you out, it can help you with getting deeper and better sleep. This helps prevent or stave off the negative effects of poor quality or quantity of sleep like increased appetite. A lack of sleep also increases our cravings for sweet foods and salty foods, which as we know are typically higher in calories. A lack of sleep also means more stress further fuelling the fire. So you can see how important a good nights sleep is for fat loss and keeping the weight off, and exercise can help us get that much needed sleep.
You can see that weight loss isn’t and doesn’t have to be an all guns blazing, over-restrictive diets, overhaul your life type of goal. For most people simply being more active and getting some exercise throughout the day can be enough to get you started and no where better to look than Aura Leisure and our qualified fitness instructors and personal trainers to help get you started. While weight loss is ultimately a case of burning more calories than you eat, you can now see how exercise and increased activity levels can have a huge effect on how much we eat, how good we feel, what we eat, our motivation levels, our accountability and ultimately how likely we are to succeed and keep the weight off. Having an exercise or workout plan and being more active throughout the day can really help improve your chances of success and make it much easier and more enjoyable.
About the Author
Fitness instructor, personal trainer and author, Patrick Joyce specialises in nutritional science and fat loss. By his own admission, fitness has always been a huge part of his life and he really enjoys helping people to get fitter and healthier using a ‘sustainable’ fitness approach and by separating the fact from the fiction. Follow Patrick on Instagram (@big_paa) or Facebook (Patrick Joyce Nutrition)