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  • Aliza Beer

Can Exercise Push Up Your Weight?


Exercise has traditionally been a trusted complement to dieting. The theory is that a person can lose weight by eating better as well as by burning off existing fat through an exercise or fitness program. However, research suggests that it is not entirely this simple. It is possible, and very common, for those who embark on fitness programs to gain weight. Current research provides many possible factors that may explain why exercise can mask, or even counter, weight loss.

The classical explanation is one that draws a distinction between muscle and fat. With a proper exercise program, one can gain muscle at a rate greater than the loss of fat. Even if the rate is not greater, any muscle gain may mask true weight loss from fat on the scale. Many fitness instructors say that someone who has just begun a fitness program can expect to initially gain around two pounds per month. Gaining weight on the scale does not necessarily mean that you are gaining fat.

One other important factor to look into is the temporary inflammation that is the result of the small tears in muscle fibers. These are called micro-trauma, and it is one of the reasons why people feel sore after working out. These tears then heal, which makes the fibers stronger than before. Inflammation is a key component of this process, which consists of inflammatory mediators becoming present in the area, causing swelling and inflammation. The extra fluids required for this inflammation may appear on the scale. This weight gain should be temporary, especially with adequate rest and recovery from work outs that allow the body to heal itself.

Ghrelin is one of the hormones released by exercising that promotes hunger. Studies show that if people start a new fitness routine, their bodies produce more of these hormones than someone who is already accustomed to a particular exercise program. Even if you follow a proper fitness routine, an increased amount of calories consumed or poor food choices will cause weight gain. If you follow a proper diet while exercising, you can limit the harm that ghrelin can do and maintain healthy eating habits despite the increased hunger.

People who try to diet and exercise may end up eating much more at dinner time when they are hungrier due to more physical activity performed during the day. This is one of the worst times to give up on healthy eating behavior because food eaten towards the very end of your day is more likely to stick and not be utilized by the body then food eaten earlier on which can be burned off. Research has also shown that sleep deprivation can affect these hormone levels and increase hunger. Giving your body enough time to rest and recover from your workouts is very important.

Water can be another source of slight weight gain. Working out can make the body try to retain more water - between two and four pounds extra to prevent dehydration. Some suggest that by drinking extra water, this may help with weight loss and also assure the body that it doesn’t have to retain as much. Drinking water also helps to partially suppress appetite, which is important for dieting. Keeping the body hydrated is a key component of healthy living, dieting, and exercising.

Many studies have isolated various factors that indicate weight gain as a result from exercise. However, research has also shown that exercise combined with proper eating habits and dieting is a great combination in pursuing weight loss. Burning fat while strengthening muscle paves the way for a healthier and active lifestyle. Exercise is crucial to weight loss maintenance because it allows one to treat themselves occasionally without gaining weight. Regular exercise can reduce around two dozen physical and mental health conditions and slow down the speed at which the body ages, according to a research review summarizing the key findings of 40 papers published between 2006 and 2010. Health conditions helped include cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Don’t let potential weight gain deter you from being active and in good shape. It is the perfect time of the year to start being more active and healthy, and incorporating some kind of physical activity into your daily life. Even simply walking every day for at least half an hour will have a positive impact on your health, no matter what the scale is saying.


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