Exercise is an important part of maintaining optimal human health.
It is not only good for your heart and circulatory system, but is also tremendously beneficial for your musculoskeletal system. Exercise is also good for your brain and has been shown to have positive effects on mood & mental health.
Let’s take a look at what sort of impact exercise has when it comes to losing weight.
Is Exercise Necessary To Lose Weight?
If you’ve found yourself asking this question, you might be someone who doesn’t exercise regularly, or maybe you struggle to find time to do it. Or you might even be someone who quite simply just doesn’t like to exercise.
How Does Weight Loss Happen?
First, it’s important to understand what causes weight loss in the first place. It’s also worth noting that in this article, “weight loss” refers to fat loss, because weight loss and fat loss are not necessarily the same thing. You could lose a couple of pounds over night just from water loss.
What causes weight loss is an imbalance between energy intake and energy output. In other words, how many calories you consume vs how many calories you burn. If you consistently consume fewer calories than you expend, your body will burn off stored body fat (adipose tissue) in order to make up for the energy deficit.
With this understanding, it should be obvious that in order to lose weight, one only needs to reduce the amount of calories consumed and ensure that calorie expenditure is higher.
Do I Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?
Exercise is not primarily a weight loss tool. It is primarily a tool for maintaining optimal overall health. With that said, because energy is required to exercise, it does influence the expenditure part of the CICO equation (calories in; calories out). Many people lose weight faster when exercise is a regular part of their life, because exercising can widen the gap between intake & expenditure.
The appropriate tool for weight loss is diet. In other words, paying attention to the amount of calories we’re consuming. It’s much, much easier to calculate & control your calorie intake than it is to calculate & control your calorie output.
So, the short answer is: exercise is not necessary for weight loss, but if you really want to be the healthiest version of yourself you can be, including exercise in your life is important.