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Do You Have to Sweat When Exercising to Lose Weight?

author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
Do You Have to Sweat When Exercising to Lose Weight?
Often, a sweaty shirt is a sign of a job well done. Photo Credit HalfPoint/iStock/Getty Images

You can lose weight with dieting alone, but according to statistics from the American Council on Exercise, only about 5 percent of those who use dieting as their only tool for weight loss will actually lose the weight and keep it off. If you add exercise to the mix, your odds improve dramatically. When it comes to burning calories with exercise, any movement is helpful; but if you want to lose the weight quickly, you're going to have to work out hard enough to sweat.

The Numbers Are In

At its core, weight loss boils down to burning more calories than you take in. The faster you burn those calories, the faster the weight comes off; upping your workout intensity enough to break a sweat could be just the thing to speed you on your way. Consider this: You'll burn almost 50 percent more calories during a vigorous cycling workout, compared to a moderate workout on the bike. A slow jog burns about twice as many calories as a 3.5-mph walk.

Stay Hydrated

The more you sweat, the more water you need to drink to stay hydrated. If you don't replace that water, you will lose some water weight -- but you'll also be harming your body; you could even die if you let yourself get too dehydrated. Sip small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes throughout your workout and, if you're working out for more than an hour, include a source of carbohydrates and electrolytes too.

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