Why You Should Exercise to Lose Belly Fat
With rising rates of obesity across America, men are wondering how to lose their belly fat. There are several methods for fat loss that include diet, exercise, or a combination of both.
The fastest and most healthy way to achieve successful fat loss is combining both diet and exercise.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why exercise makes you lose fat faster than diet alone:
- Increases calories burned
Exercise will increase the calories burned during an activity. The calories you burn in a day affect how your body metabolizes the food you take in, as well as the nutrition stored in your body (muscle tissue and fat tissue).
- Calories per hour
The Mayo Clinic provides a chart, based on weight, for calories burned by activity. An hour of high-intensity running for a 160-pound person can burn as much as 860 additional calories.
Even light activities like a slow walk or Tai Chi can burn up to 200 extra calories per hour (for the same 160-pound person). These calories add up!
- Maintains your muscle
Unfortunately, when people begin to lose weight the body goes through a process called catabolism. Catabolism is the breakdown of muscle tissue and other tissue to provide energy for the body.
Muscle is much easier for the body to use as energy than fat. Knowing that muscle is easily lost, strength and weight training for weight loss will maintain the muscle and will force your body to begin burning fat for energy.
- Gives your metabolism a boost
According to the American Council on Exercise, there is a higher effect on the metabolism 24 to 48 hours after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training.
When you cut calories, it slows your metabolism, slowing the rate at which you burn fat. However, studies have shown that resting metabolic rates can be maintained with exercise, even on lower calorie diets.
It is important to maintain higher levels of calories to stop the body from holding on to fat. Reducing resting metabolic rates on a very low-calorie diet will also increase the body’s cortisol (stress hormone) levels preventing the body from releasing excess fat.
- Interrupts hunger hormone production
There are two hormones (leptin and ghrelin) responsible for regulating hunger in the body. This duo of hormones causes both fullness and appetite. Exercise has been shown to increase leptin levels.
An increased leptin level will help you to feel fuller longer. When you feel full, you eat fewer calories causing the body to begin the catabolic process (aka, use fat for fuel).
Ghrelin, the gremlin of hormones
Ghrelin is the hormone that is responsible for signaling hunger. Often obesity can lead to an increase of this hormone in the body. Exercise has been shown to reduce its production. When ghrelin levels are in excess, there is an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety even after consuming significant amounts of food.
Exercise also changes the body’s responses to these hormones, becoming more sensitive to trace amounts. Exercise has also been shown to stabilize the hormone response to food as well as the hormonal triggers to eat.
Without all of the positive health benefits of exercise, it is almost impossible to get the body to release excess belly fat. It can be the real tipping point when stepping on the scale and seeing those numbers coming down as well as your clothes fitting better and you feeling better.