A guide to exercise for weight loss

Person out for a walk.

Exercise is extremely beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing, but it is not the route to sustainable weight loss.

Our focus always remains on improving your nutrition. But exercise can be a great addition to your lifestyle, so please exercise if you can and want to.

Why is exercise so good for you?

Regular exercise has numerous health benefits.

It helps lower the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. It can even help boost your mood, sleep quality and self-esteem and helps to maintain your joints and muscles.

Health authorities recommend to exercise for at least 150 minutes (moderate) or 75 minutes (vigorous) per week, plus muscle strengthening activities at least two days per week.

Modern lifestyles often mean we are more sedentary, so you may find difficult to fit regular exercise in your daily routine. Even so, every little helps – becoming even a little bit more active will greatly improve your chances of staying healthy and independent in the long run!

What sort of exercise is beneficial?

Although sport and going to the gym is part of the picture, fitness can be much more than formal exercise.

The exercise that will benefit you the most is the type that you enjoy and will stick to and keep doing over the long run.

Dancing can be as beneficial as going to the gym; and everyday walking or cycling to the shops or work can amount to a healthier you!

Person out for a jog.

Why not try…

A brisk morning walk?
A leisurely weekend bike ride?
A walk with a friend after work?
A 10-minute YouTube workout or stretch?

If you have access to a gym, you could even join in some spinning, boxing or other exercise classes or go for a fast-paced swim. If you’d prefer to exercise at home, there are plenty of free YouTube yoga, pilates, bodyweight exercises or weight training videos available.

Why isn’t exercise the route to weight-loss?

Exercise only accounts for a small proportion of your daily calorie burn. In order to lose weight, you need to expend more energy than you consume over a prolonged period.

However, with such a small proportion of your daily energy expenditure coming from physical exercise, the old saying that you ‘can’t outrun a bad diet’ is so very true.

It would be very difficult to consistently achieve a much larger proportion of energy burnt via exercise, as your body is very efficient at conserving energy with increased activity levels

For an average person to ‘burn off’ a slice of cake (approximately 400kcal), it would take around an hour of running at 10miles/hour. To keep up exercising at such high intensity for hours at a time would require some extreme athletic performance, which would be rather strenuous and most likely not fun at all in the long run.

Concentrate on eating a healthy diet first, especially if your goal is weight loss. Just fuel your body in the best possible way and enjoy exercise for its numerous excellent health benefits instead!

This blog is part 10 of 11 of our healthy eating & lifestyle for weight loss series.

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