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While many people associate weight loss with endless hours on the treadmill and highly restrictive dieting, weight loss doesn't have to equal misery. Competitive sports can help you lose weight while getting social interaction and burning off stress. Participation in a competitive sport is not a guarantee of weight loss, but it does increase your likelihood of weight loss success.
Weight Loss Basics
To lose one pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories. You can burn anywhere from 50 to 500 or more calories per hour depending upon the activity you are performing, but it usually takes a combination of reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity to create a significant enough caloric deficit to lose weight. Competitive sports can play an important role in your fitness routine, but you will lose weight more quickly if you eliminate excess calories from your diet.
Because competitive sports are frequently team sports that require coordination and planning among numerous people, these sports also require frequent practice. Practice sessions provide a valuable opportunity for exercise, and can help keep players motivated to continue exercising on their own. Frequent practice sessions are effective at helping you lose weight, particularly if the practice sessions involve aerobic exercise and strength training.
Cardiovascular exercise is moderate intensity exercise sustained over an extended period of time that elevates the heart rate. This form of exercise strengthens the heart over time. It also exercises large muscle groups. Exercising large muscle groups is highly effective at burning calories. Moreover, because cardiovascular exercise can increase stamina over time, it can also make exercise less uncomfortable, increasing your motivation to continue working out.
Many competitive sports are team sports. Practicing and playing with other people can increase your motivation to keep exercising, increasing your successes with weight loss. Your teammates can help motivate you, and the chance of defeating other teams may encourage you to keep pushing forward when exercise and practice become particularly challenging.