Many people spend countless hours searching for a quick and easy weight loss plan. Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds or 50 lbs, adding regular exercise to your daily routine is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone. Decreasing your caloric intake may initially cause you to lose weight, but over time as you consume less calories, your metabolism decreases to conserve energy. Basically, if your body expects only a certain number of calories, it doesn’t want to use them too quickly. Therefore, oftentimes diet alone causes weight loss to plateau.

Diet plus exercise is a healthy and efficient way to lose weight. This combination has proven to be more effective than dieting or exercise alone. Cardiovascular (CV) exercise is the best way to burn calories and lose weight.  The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of CV exercise per week (such as 30 minutes, 5 times per week). Strive to increase your intensity level to what you perceive as a “somewhat strong to strong” effort for at least 20 minutes.  This means you should break a sweat while breathing harder; you should be able to talk, but you don’t necessarily want to.  Examples of CV exercise include a brisk walk or bicycling (indoor or outdoors), swimming laps, using an elliptical machine and cross country skiing, to name a few.  If walking on a TM, be sure to increase the incline to at least 3%.  This will effectively increase your heart rate to the recommended intensity level.  Walking outside can also improve memory, fight depression, and lower blood pressure.  Adding strength training into your routine may also speed up weight loss.

Exercise is not only an effective calorie burner, it also decreases body fat and can maintain/increase lean body mass. Lean body mass is metabolically more active than body fat, maintaining a higher level of resting metabolism, thus burning calories at a higher rate without a plateau.

So, choose whatever form of CV exercise that you find most enjoyable, and most importantly, have fun!