There are clear benefits of regular exercise for people trying to lose weight.Read more…. here…
However, exercise alone is more likely to play a critical role in long-term weight control for overweight and mildly obese individuals rather than the severely obese who often find it difficult to achieve significant levels of weight-bearing movement. However, as weight is lost by other methods, exercise levels can be gradually increased; remember that exercise can be a motivational tool as well as an aid to weight loss, per se.
As well as helping obese individuals lose the weight, it is important to encourage ‘at risk’ population groups to prevent becoming overweight. Given the poor long-term success in the treatment of obesity, prevention is critical. In general, active people are slimmer than sedentary people.
Men and women who walk regularly, run, or cycle, are less likely to gain weight than inactive individuals. One study shows that the chances of 13kg of weight gain over a 10 year period are 7 times higher in sedentary women than the active group, whilst sedentary men are 3.9 times more likely to gain 8-13kgs than men who report a high level of activity. Men or women who become inactive increase their risk of weight gain.
Protective effects of Physical Activity
- Blood pressure reduction
- Improved blood viscosity
- Increased elasticity of the blood vessels
- Decrease of stress hormones
- Reduction of free radicals
- Improved immune function
Estimates of Energy Expenditure for Various Modes of Physical Activity
METS is short for Metabolic Equivalents which a conversion measurement that tells us how well our body uses oxygen in energy creation and usage. Energy is commonly measured in calories. Calories are what we see on the side of food packets and generally tell us how much energy is in the food we are about to consume.
It is important to measure the amount of calories we consume against the amount of calories we expend. Eating more than we expend can result in a positive energy balance state, meaning we will gain weight. Being active will help offset this and assist in either weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
An easy way of working out how much energy we can expend is shown below. These are some common MET values for various forms of activity/exercise.
The equation looks like this:
METs x bodyweight x time (as units of an hour)
Thus for a 90kg adult cycling for 30 mins: 4 x 90 x (30mins/60mins) = 180kcals
Cycling Leisure 4
Cycling BMX/Mountain 8.5
Running 12 min mile 8
Rowing @ 100w 7
Walking (moderate pace) 3
Walking briskly 4