Obesity and Exercise

Obesity is referred to the condition in which a person is overweight by 20% or more than the healthy weight. The BMI or Body Mass Index for an obese person is 30 or more than 30. A person becomes obese because of the accumulation of excess fat in his/her body. Approximately, 1/3 of the adults are obese around the world. Obesity is a serious condition as it increases the chances to develop various serious illnesses.

Waist size is the right indicator of obesity, as it helps measure the abdominal fat. Ideal waist size for men and women is 40 inches and 35 inches respectively. If one has more BMI or waist size than the healthy levels, then he/she is at the risk of facing several obesity-related diseases – diabetes, heart diseases and some types of cancer.

Exercise and physical activity plays a major role in calorie burn. The intensity, duration and type of exercise decide the amount of calorie burned. For example a person with a weight of 200 pounds will burn more calories in running 1 mile as compared to a person of 120 pound. This happens because the first person has 80 pounds of extra weight which will be thoroughly utilized in the same activity.

Studies have proved that regular exercise along with dietary changes will play a major role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the long term. 4-5 million overweight youths are present in the United States. 70 percent of these adolescents can become obese on reaching adulthood.

But, according a research study published in the April 2010 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, a hour of exercise by adolescents on regular basis can control weight gain. It holds true even for young children who are genetically at higher risk of becoming obese.

Facts like these can provide a welcome relief for parents and health care professionals who have to deal with the menace of this physical disorder on a daily basis.

In the article below we will discuss some of the general exercises which a healthy person can do to reduce his excess weight.

What are the benefits of exercising when you are obese?

The major goal for treating obesity is to reduce the weight. In any weight loss program, exercise plays an important role. Here are some benefits you may obtain from exercising:

  • Burns the calories and helps in weight reduction
  • Helps in maintaining the muscle tone
  • Increases the metabolic rate
  • Improves the blood circulation
  • Improves the functioning of vital organs like heart and lungs
  • Helps in reducing the stress levels
  • Helps in reduction of the depression, the major contributing factor for weight gain
  • Helps in appetite suppression
  • Helps in prevention of obesity-related diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Reduces the chances of cancers like colon, ovary and breast cancers, which are related to overweight

Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of exercise:

The best exercise program for weight loss and obesity control

Few people don’t require help to reduce weight but many people may need help for this task. It is better to follow weight loss exercises suggested by a professional. You can even refer to a dietitian; he would prepare a special diet plan for you according to your lifestyle. This special diet plan would help you reduce 2 to 3 pounds a week.

To gradually increase your physical activities we suggest you the following simple ways:

  • Moderate exercise for 20-30 minutes in a day , 5-7 days in a week if possible regularly. These exercises can include stationary cycling, vigorous walking, jogging on trade mill, swimming, stair climbing on machine.
  • Make sure that you start slowly and then gradually increase the speed,. This will prevent you from tiredness, fatigue and will prevent injury as well.
  • You can break your exercise in various sessions this will help in carrying out your exercise session for a longer duration.
  • People of all age groups can undertake exercise sessions. This will help them in improving their balance and strength.

The above tips may look simple, but if you make them a part of your daily routine they can effectively fight against obesity.

Once you start with your exercise keep the following tips in mind:

  • With your main aim to reduce your weight, the physical activities you choose should be enjoyable, affordable as well as it should fit into your daily routine.
  • To get an idea of types of exercise and calories burnt you can prepare a chart displaying the number of calories burnt in different activities.
  • If you don’t like gyms or sports then you can even consider brisk walking, bicycling or exercising at home.
  • Do not strain your muscles much while exercising as it may develop dizziness or nauseating feeling.
  • Do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for cardiovascular health.
  • To prevent further weight gain you need to do 60 minutes of moderate exercise and to lose weight 90 minutes of moderate exercise.
  • Don’t forget to do warm-up exercises before starting with heavy exercise and do cool-down exercises after completing exercise.
  • Remember to wear loose fitting clothes and footwear that is comfortable while exercising.
  • When you exercise strenuously or in hot weathers drink additional water or any sports drinks.

Keep in mind the following important tips:

  • Do not set very high expectations.
  • Start gradually and first build your stamina slowly.
  • Find a companion to exercise with.
  • Don’t compare yourself with someone else. Instead try to improve yourself.
  • During the weight loss program if you fall ill or get an injury, it is advisable to recover completely before resuming the exercises.
  • After an injury or illness, start with light exercises and gradually increase the intensity so as to avoid injury.
  • Do not forget that you need to do exercises throughout your life for a better health
  • Don’t leave them after you get back to your healthy weight.

Have fun exercising and keep yourself healthy!

How much time should I exercise?

There are some broad guidelines laid down which can help us find the answer to the question.

  • The Surgeon General opines that 30 minutes of moderate activity is required almost on all days of the week. This does not necessarily include going to the gym and working out. Any aerobic activity which induces a thermogenic effect (heat producing) in the body and elevates the heart rate is absolutely fine. It can be broken down in two intervals each of 15 minutes or three intervals each of 10 minutes. In a nutshell, incorporate physical activity wherever possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park the car at the farthest parking lot, walk to your neighborhood store etc.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services insists on getting some form of aerobic exercise of moderate intensity, at least 150 minutes a week. The time could be reduced to 75 minutes a week if you choose to crank up the intensity of the workout. Effectiveness of the workout increases many fold if a moderate and high intensity work out can be combined.
  • It is important to practice strength training at least two times a week. Lifting weights works out the muscle. Muscles are the best fat burners. They help the body burn fat even at rest. At least one set ( 8 to 12 repetitions) targeting the major muscle groups in the body is required over a week.

Overall, to just maintain your current weight without any specific weight loss goals, 30 minutes of daily physical activity is essential. However, to lose weight you need to increase the time and intensity of the physical activity.

Exercise Reduces Weight Regain

According to a new study, doing exercise while dieting helps in preventing weight regain. Exercising minimizes appetite and also burns your fat before carbohydrates. If fat is burned first and carbohydrates are stored for later use, then it slows the process of weight regain. This also helps in reducing overeating.

This was published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. The findings also reported that exercise reduces the development of new fat cells which occur during the process of weight regain.

The exercise physiologists of the Department Of Human Studies in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) also conducted a study and concluded that 80 minutes of workout of both resistance and aerobic training helps greatly not only to inhibit gain in weight but it also prevents the regaining of the tough visceral fat even after one year of weight loss.

Can Practising Yoga Treat Obesity ?

Yoga is practised in the east especially in India for than 5000 years. It claims to address all aspects of obesity like the physical, mental and emotional aspects. It does so by helping the practitioner gain control over the mind and behaviour. It is suitable for any age group. Practising it regularly can provide permanent solution to obesity as is claimed by Yoga Practitioners.

Some of the Yoga postures meant for weight loss are ArdhaMatsyendrasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Paschimotannasana, SaralHastaBhujangasana, Sarvangasana, Trikonasana, Veerasana. Sun salutation or Surya Namaskara is also very effective in reducing weight.

Along with exercise it is very important to eat well. The best results are obtained only when one can combine both exercise and healthy eating in one’s routine effectively.

Some Food Habits to Follow are:

  • Timings of the lunch and dinner should be fixed.
  • There should at least be a time difference of 4 hours between 2 meals.
  • Meals rich in fruits and vegetables and low fat meal should be taken.
  • Reduce sweets, milk, fats, excess calories, butter, cheese in meals.
  • Sleeping for 6 to 7 hours is sufficient.
  • Take massage and steam bath regularly.
  • Fix a daily daily diet schedule with the help of a dietician.
  • Quit smoking, alcohol or taking of drugs.

To know more about other exercises that one can do in obesity, read our article Exercises to overcome obesity.