If you’re looking for a way to burn body fat, light exercise certainly isn’t the answer. That said, there are some situations where moderate or vigorous exercise simply isn’t an option, such as recovering from an injury or having sore joints. Despite the fact that light exercise isn’t as effective as moderate or vigorous exercise in terms of burning body fat, it can still be healthful, certainly when compared to doing no exercise at all.
Losing weight is a numbers game: Burn more calories than you take in. You can burn calories during exercise and decrease your caloric intake through your diet. Obviously, light exercise burns fewer calories compared to moderate or vigorous exercise, so the key to losing weight when working out at a light pace is reducing your caloric intake. So, can you burn fat with light exercise? Yes, but your diet plays a major role in making that happen.
Light Exercise and Calories
Light exercise includes activities like walking at a leisurely pace, doing basic housework and light calisthenics. A 160-pound person burns about 204 calories per hour walking at about 2 mph, according to the Mayo Clinic. Compare this to jogging at 5 mph, which burns 606 calories per hour, and you can plainly see that light exercise isn’t the answer to burning calories or fat.
Cut Food, Cut Fat
Your diet is the key to burning body fat. In order to burn more calories than you take in each day, you have to reduce your daily caloric intake – light exercise alone will not make a huge impact on your caloric balance, as already explained. Most women can safely lose weight by consuming as little as 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you can manage to eliminate 500 calories per day through a combination of diet and exercise, you have the potential to burn 1 pound of body fat per week.
Benefit of Light Exercise
Light exercise isn’t all bad. In fact, light back exercises and stretching can help alleviate back pain and encourage the injury or soreness to heal in many cases. Exercising at an easy pace, including doing stretches, also encourages blood flow to all of your muscles and has an aerobic benefit. When it comes to burning fat, there’s no substitute for a blood-pumping, sweat-inducing workout at the gym. Light exercise has its purpose, but fat burning isn’t what its intended for, so try to ramp up the intensity level to shed those pounds.
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.