Can You Exercise The Weight Off

March 20, 2014 Eric Soderlund

When people learn that I’ve started a company designed to help people prevent or reverse lifestyle conditions such as Pre-Diabetes through weight loss and activity, they often have a story or question for me, which I always enjoy.

One comment that I frequently get is “I walk every day but I am actually gaining weight”. This comment then provokes the question, “Can you exercise the weight off”? Let’s look at some numbers.

In 60 minutes, a person weighing 200lbs will burn approximately:

320 Calories walking the dog
360 walking briskly
364 calories biking leisurely
700 calories biking vigorously
720 jogging a 12 minute mile
900 jogging a 10 minute mile

(Of course these are estimates but close enough for my point)

It takes 3500 additional calories (calories consumed vs calories burned) to gain a pound and the same amount of a calorie deficit to lose a pound, 3500.

If you are eating enough to gain 1 pound per week, which is an additional 500 calories per day, you would have to walk for 10 hours per week or run a 10 minute mile (which is fast for an inexperienced runner) for 4 hours per week just to break even.

Now double those numbers in order to lose 1 pound per week. 20 hours of walking!

So the answer to the question for most of us is “NO”. You can’t continue to eat poorly and just walk or jog the calories off. You need to combine sensible activities with an appropriate meal plan. You need to know how many calories you should consume and then track those calories.

I am certainly not implying that you shouldn’t exercise. Exercise does assist in losing weight and diet alone will not increase your fitness level. It does nothing for strength, bone density or cardiovascular improvements. It doesn’t release endorphin’s that make you feel good or accomplish any of the other things that being physically active achieves.

The goal shouldn’t just be to weight loss. The focus should be on health, physical, mental and emotional. And that requires balance of life. If you want to lose weight, focus on making good decisions for yourself. Eat well, stay active and take time for self.

As always, your questions and comments are encouraged.

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Eric Soderlund

Truchoice Fitness & Nutrition

Take Your Health Back