Researchers studying human behavior made an interesting discovery: Thin people fidget more than fat people. The theory is that the extra body movements burn up calories that would otherwise be turned into fat. Researchers stopped short of recommending fidgeting as a weight-loss technique, but clearly there are things that anyone can do to burn more calories.
Weight-control experts recommend at least 20 minutes of regular aerobic exercise three or more times a week as the single most effective thing a person can do to lose weight and keep it off. Aerobic exercise includes such activities as walking, running, swimming, bicycling or dancing-any activity that raises the heart rate.
Not only does the exercise itself burn calories, but it raises the body’s overall metabolism to burn calories at a higher rate. Constant dieting, on the other hand, often lowers the metabolism so that the dieter gains weight on fewer calories than the non-dieter.
In addition to planned, regular exercise, a number of lifestyle changes can raise anyone’s level of daily activity. These include the following:
- using the stairs instead of the elevator;
- parking at the back of the parking lot;
- getting rid of the TV remote control;
- using a push lawn mower;
- riding a bicycle to work;
- unplugging some labor-saving devices.
Can you think of lifestyle changes you can make to boost your level of activity? If you’re also thinking of beginning an exercise program, good for you! But first, see your healthcare provider for a thorough physical exam and advice on any limitations you may have. Do some research and choose exercise you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stick to it.