Weight loss/maintenance and exercise go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. I often see people at the gym who are very toned, but who are also chunky. They have the exercise part down, but aren’t cutting back on the number of calories. This had happened to me years ago, I was heavier and toned. Toned is good, but it isn’t the total picture that I had wanted.
Exercise builds muscle that adds makes for more efficient calorie burning. Increased activity revs up your metabolism. You increase your muscle and burn fat and therefore lose weight as long as your caloric intake is less than what you need to maintain your weight. A person must learn what they need for the fuel intake to either maintain or lose weight depending on their goals, but they must also include exercise as well!
As we age, we need fewer calories to sustain our bodies. What your body needed at age 25 and what it needs at 50 are two entirely different numbers! If I wanted to drop 5 or 10 pounds when I was younger, all I had to do was cut back on the calories and get moving a little. Now that I am older, I have found that exercising is mandatory, just like sleep, taking a bath and brushing your teeth. It is no longer optional! If you are closer to 50 then you are 25, then time is of the essence, you need to get moving and keep moving as soon as possible. In order to be successful, your efforts for diet and exercise must become very deliberate and consistent in mid-life.
Fortunately it doesn’t take much. The good news is that if you are 40, 50 or 60, you do not have to keep up with the 25 year olds or the tri-athletes to be successful at this. The 25 year olds run circles around me, but that is okay. They zip past me on the track for a few laps, and then they quit. I am still there walking. I have more body tone than most of them and I’m not banging up my knees. Walking stimulates bone growth. The secret to my success is that I move and keep moving. I am consistent in continuing my exercise program. By eating reduced calories and by regular exercise, my weight has come off and the body tone has developed by consistent application of these habits over time. If you are exercising every now and again, good for you, that is a great start! Take this good start and make a regular habit of it, because until you are consistently exercising and reducing your daily calorie intake, you really can’t expect to move any closer to your goals. You must do both!
I work out three days a week. Just three days a week, not every day! My program consists of walking, calisthenics, weights, machines and stretching. I remember that before I started exercising regularly, whenever I would see an article about somebody losing weight and it said that they exercise 5 or 6 days a week, I would gag because to me that sounded like taking on a second job! I was too busy, too stressed and too tired to add this to my to do list and make that big of an initial commitment. You don’t have to work out 5 or 6 days a week, you just need to get moving and keep moving! You do not have to go full tilt exercise crazy to be fit, but you do need to do it on a regular and consistent basis.
My normal workout is a 3 days a week affair. However, I am going to confess to you that since Thanksgiving, I have been going 5 days a week. The other two days I walk for 30 minutes and that is it. This has been in the anticipation of the holiday season where I would eat more on the big two days of Thanksgiving and Christmas; I would compensate somewhat by moving more. On a couple of occasions, I only made it 4 days a week, but the trend was that I kept moving and so far, no weight gains over the holidays.
Start by getting out there today, even if it is just for a 15 or 20-minute walk. Walk indoors at the mall if you don’t yet have an exercise facility. When exercise becomes integrated into your lifestyle, then you can make the additional commitment to adding a little more to your exercise program. Begin exercising in smaller increments so it won’t be as intrusive on your schedule and that way, it will become more of a pleasure than a burden. Remember, just get moving and stay moving. Don’t worry about what the others are doing, but get out there and work at your own pace, for over time you will get fitter and stronger and leaner.