Exercise to Lose Weight

I am frequently asked whether it is necessary to exercise to lose weight.

Exercise to lose weight
Exercise to lose weight

My initial response is always that you do not need to exercise to lose weight as weight loss is merely balancing your calories so that your calories consumed are lower than your calories burnt and therefore your body is forced to draw on calorie reserves of fat to meet it’s energy requirements.

However, it is always wise to incorporate some sort of exercise into your daily routine to keep your muscles toned and for you to look great. You do need to take into account that the main reason that you are wanting to lose weight is to look better and feel healthier.

If you lose weight and start to look like a Sharpei puppy with loose skin hanging around you then you will probably look and feel worse than you did before losing weight.

Why exercise is so important

Exercise in a weight loss program serves more than just one purpose. While most will agree that exercise increases your calorie burn off and thereby causes weight loss, this is really not the most important role that exercise plays in your weight loss routine. New cell formation uses a tremendous amount of energy.

Should you take part in some serious bodybuilding you may want to consider using some legal steroids to boost your performance.

New cell formation occurs when you start to tone up muscle and build new muscle as a result of exercise. When your body starts to produce new cells it starts to burn calories off at an increased rate. In order to cater for this extra energy consumption your body automatically increases your metabolism and so you start to burn more calories and have more energy even when you are not exercising.

I was recently having a good look at the builds of people around me. It was interesting to note that most who had arms that indicated that they were no stranger to hard work also had lovely flat stomachs and shapely legs. This was true for both men and women that I noticed.

How to increase daily exercise

Increasing your daily exercise is not necessary a matter of going out and joining a gym or hiring a personal fitness trainer.

It is quite possible that just by changing one or two small habits you could also effect tremendous changes on your figure and improve your overall health at the same time.

1) Housework

Small tasks such as sweeping the floor and washing the floor are a great start. Instead of leaving everything to the maid to do why not sweep the floor before the maid arrives. Delicate clothing items such as lingerie should preferrably be hand washed. Start to do these small items by hand yourself.

2) Walking

While taking long walks is often out of the question in S.A due to both time and security constraints you can increase the distance that you walk each day simply by some small habit changes. – Park in the car park furtherest from the point that you wish to go to.- Use the steps instead of the escalator or lift.- Walk through all the aisles in the shop instead of just going to the ones that you need items from – who knows you may even find some interesting stuff that you did not know the shop even stocked.

Exercise and the calories burnt  are cumulative and so even if you are doing little bits of extra exercise throughout the day you will benefit from them.  You may not be able to fit in a solid hour of exercise into your routine but with a little imagination you could possibly fit in 10 x 6 minute periods of extra exercise that add up to one hours exercise.

Obesity in South Africa

Obese Man
Obese Man

Personally I would estimate that a far higher percentage of South Africans are overweight and as time passes I am noticing an alarming amount of young children who are becoming obese.

Sure, we have always had some “fatty” children running around but I am not talking about just slightly overweight kids, I am talking about children who are sometimes pre-school and who are morbidly obese.

What is causing the trend in obesity?

While there are a million factors contributing to obesity in S.A and the rest of the world there are some factors that are easier to control than others.

1) Fast Foods

It is a well known fact that wherever the popular American fast food outlets appear in the world then obesity seems to follow. These fast food chains have popularised unhealthy eating and have provided a simple solution to the housewives problem of providing food to the family.

Children are a major part of the new trend towards fast foods and as a result the unscrupulous marketing of these unhealthy foods is often targetted at children. Where the children wish to go the parents follow. Kiddie meals supplemented with a “cool” toy that every kid must collect ensures that these families return on a regular basis.

Dr Van Der Merwe has gone as far as to suggest that the government should impose a tax on unhealthy fast foods similar to the “Sin Tax” imposed on cigarettes and alcohol.

2) Soft Drinks

Water has become so uncool! Why drink water or some other healthy beverage when you can drink a refreshing sugar laden soft drink.  Of course these high sugar refreshments are often supplemented with caffeine so as to cause the user to return regularly for a top up of caffeine.

One 500ml popular brand soft drink was found to contain almost half of the recommended daily allowance of calories. Walking around popular supermarkets and observing the trolleys of shoppers all containing multiple 2 litre bottles of soft drinks indicate just how badly South Africans have become hooked on Soft Drinks.

The new “Sugar Tax” that is due to come into force in 2017 is mainly targeted at increasing sugar prices to try and reduce sugar usage by an overweight nation.

3) Lack of exercise

Although I commonly state that you do not need a major exercise program to lose weightyou do need some sort of exercise, such as walking, in order to burn off calories.

South Africa is plagued by a very high crime rate and as a result in many circumstances it is no longer safe to walk around. Suitable public transport is a problem that further aggravates the situation.

Children are collected directly from school. It is often preferred that they rather safely watch T.V or play computer games instead of running around outdoors with friends. Adults often have private cars and drive directly to where they wish to go. There is no excess walking such as encountered when using a public transport system.

In short most South Africans very seldom partake in any form of day to day exercise and this is a major contributor to the overweight state of the nation.

Conclusion

The fight against obesity will involve a massive change of lifestyle in South Africa which could well be nearly impossible to achieve. Taxes imposed upon fast food outlets and other accompanying legislation which forces fast food outlets to indicate calorie content of meals provided, may help to control the problem slightly but it is still merely a pin-prick in the ocean.

Legislation to control the sale of popular soft drinks will never happen as these companies provide valuable tax revenue to the government. The streets are unsafe and there is no adequate public transport system available and as a result most familes will continue to lack adequate daily exercise.

Unfortunately is does seem that obesity problem in South Africa is going to continue to grow out of control as it has done in countries such as the USA.