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A recent Time magazine article, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin,” is misleading at best. Exercise is critical to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, especially when paired with healthy eating habits.
Countless studies, numerous experts who study exercise, and the millions of people who have lost weight all attest to the fact that working out works. “Exercise is absolutely essential for dropping weight and maintaining weight loss,” says FITNESS advisory board member Michele S. Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery. Here’s what exercise does-and how it does it-to keep you healthy, happy and slim.
* Exercise zaps belly fat
Regular moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise has the greatest impact on reducing abdominal fat — the dangerous fat that increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
* Exercise controls calories
You need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Regular exercise uses up excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.
* Exercise keeps lost pounds MIA
Ninety percent of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off for a year do about an hour of physical activity a day.
* Exercise boosts metabolism
You’ll lose fat when you diet without exercising, but you’ll also lose muscle, which means you’ll burn fewer calories. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you’ll burn.
* Exercise does more than the scale shows
If you gain 3 pounds of lean muscle and lose 4 pounds of fat, you’ve actually experienced a 7-pound improvement in your body condition, despite the scale only showing 1 pound of weight loss.
* Exercise curbs emotional eating
Working out has been proven time and time again to help regulate mood, which has a direct effect on people who eat when they’re stressed or upset.
* Exercise creates a healthy chain reaction
Healthy habits tend to cluster together. When people make positive changes, like getting more exercise, they tend to work on other health improvements as well, such as eating better.
* Exercise brings on the fun
Rock-climbing is more exciting than eating a celery stick. That’s why it’s sometimes easier to be active to stay slim than to maintain a strict diet.
* Exercise stops hunger
People who exercise and diet are actually less hungry than those who only diet, according to at least one study.
* Exercise increases energy
Regular physical activity increases stamina by boosting your body’s production of energy-promoting neurotransmitters. That gives you even more motivation to get moving and shed pounds.