How exercise promotes weight loss

by Dra. Paola Harwicz, Medical Director of Health Program Nutrición en la Red

How long do I have to work out to lose weight? Can sports prevent us from regaining the pounds we’ve lost?  How does exercise promote weight loss?

Sedentarism, a cause of overweight

We are facing an epidemic of obesity and though its causes are manifold – genetics play a role, as does an environment promoting excessive food consumption, and also packaging sizes are increasing – we know that we are moving increasingly less. There is a direct connection between being overweight and the number of hours we spend in front of the TV – and these habits often extend to the whole family.

Can we lose weight with exercise alone?

Even though exercise promotes weight loss, it is vital to combine sports with a corresponding nutrition plan to reduce our calorie intake in order to lose weight.

Just consider the following: People who lost weight thanks to a nutrition plan and sports activities were able to maintain their new weight as long as they maintained their exercise routine. The effects were visible in the long run, and especially in those who made physical activity an integral part of their new life style.

What is the advantage of exercise when losing weight?

The advantage of linking physical activity to a hypocaloric nutrition plan is that the body loses fat tissue while maintaining its lean mass (the muscle), which is responsible for fat burning and also increases our energy consumption when at rest. Besides the benefits on the weight loss side of things, exercise has several other positive effects on our cardiovascular system and metabolism, as it improves our triglyceride and blood sugar levels and increases our “good” HDL cholesterol. Plus, only 30 minutes of sport per day reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer.

Does exercise protect against being overweight?

Physical inactivity is related to weight gain – so does working out or exercising help maintain weight? A study among 10,000 people, monitored over a period of seven years, analyzed the factors which influence weight gain and found that the only factor able to slow down weight gain is regular physical activity.

No matter if there is a genetic predisposition for being overweight, exercising is considered a protective factor. Children engaged in regular physical activities are able to maintain a healthy weight, even if they have overweight or obese parents.


–       We move increasingly less: Make sports part of your life and find an activity you really like.
–       Exercise is your ally: Don’t postpone change, get started now!
–       The benefits of exercising are varied and promote weight loss.
–       Extreme diets just deprive you of energy.
–       Diets that prohibit what you like the most are always temporary: Measure your portions, eat consciously and work out.

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