Exercise is very important for weight loss but not for the reasons you might think. If you watch the television commercials you could have convinced that any number of magical exercise machines and gadgets will help you lose weight. At best they are wrong and worst they are lying and cheating you.
To lose weight you would need to be training for a marathon, a 20 minute workout on a treadmill would not work off the calories of a small handful of raisins. The simple fact is that you can not out exercise your mouth and that diet is the major factor required for weight loss.
Exercise does help regulate insulin, it helps with stress management and does burn a small amount of calories. Human bodies have always been designed to move, we are by nature active creatures not sedentary.
Good health and wellbeing needs movement, diabetes, arthritis and often every health issue needs movement. 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce allergies by 25%. Moderate exercise aids with sleep and movement aids thinking, studying and creativity.
There can be no disagreement that exercise and being active is essential for healthy living but it is not directly the key to weight loss. However when you sleep better and have less stress and feel healthier you are more likely to eat a better diet and there before exercise has a role.
Hard exercise does not help more than moderate exercise, you sweat because your core is hot not because you are burning more calories. Research shows that while exercise is a poor calorie burner the best pace is what is referred to as zone two activities, ie 180 minus your age.
This gives a good working heart rate for most people, of course some people like my super fit father at 83 would have time practically standing still. You can add 5 if you are fit and subtract five if you are very unfit.
The important message here is that you need to exercise as a part of healthy living but do not drive yourself to burn calories, you will be disappointed.
As mentioned the key to weight loss is your diet, and specifically being in a fat burning mode, which means you need to consume good amounts of quality fats and low levels of carbohydrates (sugars).
Sugar is a poor energy source which needs to be frequently topped up, with proportions being converted to triglycerides (fats). But fat requires fewer calories and burns better as a fuel source while laying down less fat.
So to lose weight you need to avoid processed carbohydrates, eat quality fats and protein, take moderate exercise, sleep well and manage your stress.