Strength Training is a Calorie-Burning Ally
Being active is important for any weight-loss or weight-maintenance program. When you are active, your body uses more energy (calories). And when you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight.
Both diet and exercise are important factors for weight loss. Diet has a stronger effect on weight loss, while exercise has a stronger effect on preventing weight regain. Weight loss through diet alone can cause you to lose more muscle mass, which decreases your body’s functional abilities. With less muscle mass it is more difficult to keep the weight off.
Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, biking and swimming are often thought to be the most effective activities for burning calories at a high rate. For example, when walking briskly at a 3 mph pace (a mile in 20 minutes) you can burn roughly 100 calories (walk for an hour, and you can burn 300 calories). Although intensity of the activity and body weight can make slight differences, this is a good average for most people.
Give Weight Lifting a Try!
Although sometimes not considered a major calorie burning activity, strength training actually burns calories in the following ways:
- Higher intensity, short duration lifting during each exercise (anaerobic exercise)
- Calorie burn via the total time it takes to do a whole strength training workout session (aerobic)
- Increased calorie burn right after the training session – in a recovery phase (often called ‘remodeling’), your muscle tissue continues to burn calories over the 48 to 72 hours following the session
There are many things to consider for actual calorie burn during strength training. Circuit strength training studies have shown that a 20- to 25-minute strength training session can burn 300 to 400 calories, and the post-workout muscle recovery (remodeling) burns an additional 300 to 400 calories. In addition to burning calories, you’re also helping maintain your body’s functional abilities and decreasing muscle loss due as you lose weight. Win-win!
As you can see, both aerobic activities and strength training are important for our health and for weight loss/maintenance.