The benefits of exercise far exceed how many calories it burns. Exercise is known to boost your mood, increase your metabolism, lower stress, improve your sleep, and help you lose weight. Exercise will give you more energy, which can help you stick with your calorie burning program and meet your health and fitness goals, too.
Keeping your metabolism high can help you burn more calories. Cardiovascular exercises are effective at boosting metabolism, as is building more muscle mass through strength training exercise. Muscle uses more energy than other forms of tissue, like fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, even when you are not active. Not only will you burn fat and calories while you are exercising, but the more you workout, the longer you will keep burning calories after exercise is complete.
Any type of exercise is better than no exercise, so start small and build your way up to more intense workouts as you gain strength. Once you lose a little weight, you’ll have more energy and find it easier to get motivated to workout more. Even if you don’t have time for a lengthy exercise session, start with several shorter intervals to get your heart pumping, the blood moving, and your muscles working.
Mixing up cardio exercise with strength training is ideal for burning calories and promoting weight loss. The key is to find activities you enjoy and to stick with it regularly. Exercise can be everything from walking on the treadmill and lifting weights at the gym to playing basketball with your kids. Riding your bike, swimming, yoga, Pilates, hiking, walking outside, playing catch with your dog, or working in your yard are also good forms of exercise. Find one or more that you enjoy doing, and it won’t feel quite so much like “work.”
Once you get comfortable with your exercise choices, look for ways to add more resistance or make it more challenging. Add an incline to the treadmill. Take the stairs two at a time. Add weights to ankles and wrists while you walk. Increase your speed or distance. Keep pushing yourself to improve, and you will continue to increase the number of calories you burn with each session. It can be helpful to enlist the support of others or to hire a trainer to give you suggestions for ways to improve your workouts.
Don’t forget your lower body. Strengthening your core as well as your legs, hips, and feet not only burns calories but also increases your agility, stamina, and flexibility. Since these are all things that decline in old age, it’s good to develop habits early that will keep you strong and healthy into your golden years. Squats and lunges are two great exercises that work on multiple muscle groups and promote many lifelong skills.