Exercise – for some, it’s a necessary evil; for others, a way to find balance, and for a few, a passion. But does weight loss work better with or without exercise? In this article, we’ll show you why losing weight with exercise is easier, the additional health benefits it brings, and how it complements gastric balloon therapy ideally.
What is the best exercise for losing weight?
One might attempt to determine the best exercise for weight loss based on calories burned per minute – intense sports would score well here. However, is that the only decisive factor? Not really. The fun factor plays a crucial role. For example, if you absolutely dislike jogging, the fact that it burns many calories won’t be very helpful, as you’ll rarely find the motivation for it. In this context, regular walking might be more sensible, even if it burns fewer calories. If you enjoy walking, it becomes easier to find the motivation, time, and consistency in incorporating this form of exercise into your routine.
The question of the best exercise for weight loss is as individual as we are. Our uniqueness is reflected not only in our personality but also in our interests. So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Conclusion: Your personal weight loss success lies in the exercise that brings you joy and can be easily integrated into your daily life!
Ultimately, the best exercise for weight loss is the one that brings you joy and can be well integrated into your daily routine. It’s crucial that you feel comfortable with the chosen activity and make it a consistent part of your life. This way, weight loss becomes not only effective but also a sustainable and positive experience for you.
Effects of exercise on weight loss
Professional societies like the German Society for Nutrition recommend 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, in addition to a balanced diet, for weight loss. But does exercise simply burn calories and improve the calorie balance? The reassuring answer: Exercise has many more effects on the body. Let’s start from the beginning:
1. Calorie burning through exercise
Every movement consumes energy, and the more energy we use, the more we can eat while still losing weight. This already shows that both nutrition and training influence weight. For example, an hour of swimming burns about 500 calories. Even if you eat an extra cheese sandwich with scrambled eggs that day (about 400 calories), you still burned more energy than you consumed. This can help you stay within your recommended daily calorie intake.
There’s also the afterburn effect. During intense exertion, you get out of breath, creating a slight oxygen deficit in your body. To compensate for this, your body needs a little more energy for approximately 15 to 48 hours. The extra energy consumption depends on the type of exercise and, especially, the intensity. A study found about a 5% increase in energy consumption for traditional strength training and a 23% increase for High-Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT). Recently, Prof. Theodor Stemper of the University of Wuppertal stated:
“EPOC (afterburn effect) through fitness training is, in the light of the latest studies, a not to be neglected factor that can explain part of the success in weight regulation
2. Muscles increase basal metabolic rate
Active engagement in sports leads to muscle building, which, in turn, slightly increases your basal metabolic rate. Muscles are true powerhouses that burn calories even at rest. This positive effect helps support your weight loss. Admittedly, this effect is occasionally overestimated. Studies show that 1 kilogram of muscles increases the basal metabolic rate by about 13 calories. In comparison, 1 kilogram of fat burns about 4.5 calories. It’s only a slight increase in the basal metabolic rate, but still better than none. And when extrapolated to a month, it’s almost 400 calories.
3. Health-promoting myokines
Exercise or sports not only affect your weight loss but also your overall health. Muscles release health-promoting messengers – Myokines. These little helpers act as health boosters and can even counteract some weight-related diseases, such as diabetes. Myokines are, so to speak, the counterplayers to messengers from adipose tissue (Adipokines). A good ratio between muscle and fat mass in the body is crucial for your health. You support this not only through training but also with a protein-rich diet. Proteins promote the maintenance and increase of normal muscle mass.
4. Stress reduction as an additional benefit
Let’s not forget the positive effect of exercise on stress reduction. Stress hormones can impede weight loss, and this is where exercise comes in as a true stress reliever. Through movement, you not only reduce physical but also mental tension, making the path to your desired weight easier.
Learn more about the topic: Stress and nutrition
Gastric Balloon: Is there anything to consider during exercise?
We often receive the question of whether the existing exercise routine can be maintained with a gastric balloon. The answer is: Yes, all common sports can be performed with a gastric balloon.
Training not only improves your results with the gastric balloon, but it can also reduce balloon-related side effects. 30 minutes of walking after meals or trampoline jumping can be real wonders for discomfort.
If you have questions about the gastric balloon, we are happy to advise you:
Wenn Du Fragen während der Therapie hast, dann kontaktiere gern Deinen Weight Buddy.
Conclusion: weight loss with or without exercise?!
While weight loss can indeed happen without exercise, there are many positive aspects that speak in favor of more movement. Therefore, our recommendation is always a combination of nutrition and exercise. Here, we intentionally speak of movement instead of sports because even more everyday movement helps. What do we mean by this?
- Leave the car and walk or take the bike more often.
- Avoid escalators and elevators, and choose the stairs instead.
- Visit your colleagues in the neighboring office instead of sending an email or picking up the phone.
If you opt for sports, choose an activity that you truly enjoy, as it will help you stay committed and find motivation time and time again. 😊 Need ideas? How about trying one of these sports:
- Jogging or Trail Running
- Strength training at the gym
- Tennis or Padel Tennis
- Dancing (from fitness dance classes to partner dancing)
- Hula Hoop (Hoopdance)
- Trampoline Fitness
- Walking Football
Paoli, A., Moro, T., Marcolin, G., Neri, M., Bianco, A., Palma, A., & Grimaldi, K. (2012). High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIRT) influences resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio in non-dieting individuals. Journal of translational medicine, 10, 237. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-10-237
McClave, S. A., & Snider, H. L. (2001). Dissecting the energy needs of the body. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 4(2), 143–147. https://doi.org/10.1097/00075197-200103000-00011
Gomarasca, M., Banfi, G., & Lombardi, G. (2020). Myokines: The endocrine coupling of skeletal muscle and bone. Advances in clinical chemistry, 94, 155–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.acc.2019.07.010
The yo-yo effect, cravings, stress - losing weight can be quite frustrating. But there is a way out for everyone. Together we will find the right solution for you. As a nutritionist at My Weight®, I support my patients individually and personally on their way to their desired weight. Losing weight can and should be fun...and we work on this together! 😊
Maren - Weight Buddy® and nutritionist at My Weight®