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Exercise: The Key to Weight Loss

As we grow older it seems that we are in a constant battle with our waistline. The older we get the harder it is to lose weight. Many of us have tried various fad diets which may take the weight off in the short run but undoubtedly it comes right back. In fact, over 95% of dieters will put the weight back on plus an extra five pounds. Diets just don't work. The key to permanent weight loss is through exercise and proper nutrition through behavior modification.

When we diet we're losing fat and also muscle. This decrease in muscle mass will cause our metabolism to slow down so we are unable to burn as many calories. As we age this naturally begins to occur. After our mid 20s our metabolic rate decrease & by approximately five percent per decade. One explanation for this is that our muscle mass decreases and our body fat increases due to inactivity. We get caught up in our work and spend our leisure time in front of the TV instead of taking care of our bodies. Being overweight is one of the major causes of hypertension, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and an overall lackluster feeling.

As many dieters know, the weight is going to come back faster and faster the more you diet. Whether you're eating pre-packaged foods, diet shakes, or grapefruits and water, you're not going to be able to stay with it forever without going crazy. When you see that chocolate cake you won't be able to just have one piece you're likely to cat the whole thing. It's a vicious cycle.

There to good news. Something can break this cycle--exercise. in order to lose weight we must create a caloric deficit, that is we must expend more calories that we are consuming. This is done through exercise and proper nutrition, not fad diets. Through exercise we are able to burn calories and add muscle. For every pound of muscle we obtain, an extra 350 calories per week is burned in order to sustain this. We'll be using up extra calories even while we sleep.

Aerobic exercises, such as walking and jogging are excellent ways to bum calories. Always begin with a warm-up period of 3-5 minutes gradually reaching your target heart rate. (Mine is 60 to 70 percent of your maximal heart, which is estimated at 220-age. For example if you are 60 yrs. old your target heart would be 96 beats per minute through 128 beats per minute.) Always start at the low end of your target heart rate. Exercising in this range for 15 through 20 minutes will allow for fat reduction to occur. A cool down of 3 to 5 minutes is recommended as this allow* for your heart rate to gradually return to normal.