Does Exercise Guarantee Weight Loss?
The simple answer is NO. Exercise does not guarantee weight loss. So why do people keep talking about it? What is so great about exercise when it doesn’t ensure weight loss? Let’s take some time to dive into this to see what are some of the benefits of exercise.
Aerobic exercise is defined as activities that use large muscles groups in a rhythmic pattern.1 Examples include walking, cycling, swimming, running, and hiking. Aerobic exercise helps to improve the cardiovascular system by creating a stronger and more efficient system.
The heart becomes stronger and capable of pumping more blood around the body with less heart beats, resulting in a lower resting heart rate and exercise heart rate.2 Not only does the heart increase in size and strength but the blood vessels become more efficient at exchanging waste products (e.g. carbon dioxide) and fuel (e.g. oxygen) in the lungs and working muscles.
Aerobic exercise helps to slow or even reverse the buildup of unnecessary materials (e.g. cholesterol) on the artery walls.2 This reduction in buildup results in reduced blood pressure (i.e. hypertension) and reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).2 Mitochondria also increase in function, size, and number within the muscle tissues.2
Mitochondria are responsible for production of the energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is responsible for providing energy for all working muscles and organs.3 Increased number, size, and function of mitochondria results in increased energy production.
Regardless of weight loss aerobic exercise promotes positive changes within the body and provides you with feelings of increased energy.
Resistance training helps to build muscular strength and muscular endurance. Weight loss is not associated with resistance training however, it can have a positive impact at the cellular level and your functional abilities. If you participate in resistance training you will notice an increased ability to complete activities of daily living, recreational activities, and work-related tasks.
Resistance training helps to manage blood glucose levels by using the extra glucose during muscle contractions therefore, you will notice a reduction in insulin resistance.2 Cholesterol levels are also affected positively by resistance training. LDL-C levels decrease with resistance training and high-density lipoproteins-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels increase leading to reduced cardiovascular risk factors.2 Resistance training helps people to feel stronger and more capable to complete activities of daily living.
I encourage you to focus on the positive changes, specifically how you feel, when you are starting an exercise program. Focusing on the weight scale can be discouraging and decrease your motivation to continue! Despite movement on the scale, there are positive changes happening in your body and you will probably notice improvement in energy, mood, and ability to complete tasks around the house.
If you need help with starting your exercise routine talk to a physiotherapist at our Grande Prairie location.
- Reuter B. Developing Endurance. Windsor, ON: Human Kinetics; 2012.
- Peterson MD., Gordon PM. Metabolic syndrome. In Ehrman JK, Gordon PM, Visich PS, & Keteyian SJ, ed. Clinical Exercise Physiology (3rd). Windsor, ON: Human Kinetics; 2014:117-196.