Physical activity: essential component to reduce weight.

Edited by Doctor Nicola Manca

Excess body fat is not the simple result of excessive calorie intake. It would be a mistake to think that you can only reduce body weight by decreasing the calories ingested.
The increase in energy expenditure obtained with proper physical activity plays a fundamental role in reducing and maintaining body weight. It is common among people physically trained in endurance sports to verify that those who eat the most are often in the best physical shape . Although the average caloric intake in Western countries has not increased in recent years (in the United States, for example, it has decreased by 5-10% in the last 20 years), the phenomenon of obesity has considerably increased.
If food were the only factor affecting body weight, the reduced caloric intake should have led to a decrease and not an increase in body mass!
A fundamental role is actually assumed by the sedentary lifestyle of our society which confines movement, motor activity, to an increasingly marginal role.

The reduction of caloric intake alone is not able, in the vast majority of cases, to permanently reduce body weight.

The most effective way to lose weight is to combine a balanced, moderately low-calorie diet with "adequate physical activity.
In addition, physical activity is essential to achieve the main goal of all diet programs, which is to reduce fat mass and maintain lean mass. Resistance training generally causes a reduction in fat mass and total body weight, while lean remains unaffected or increases slightly. The training program normally suggested for weight loss and reduction of fat mass, includes at least three sessions per week, lasting at least 20 minutes and with an intensity such as to cause an energy expenditure of no less than 300 Kcal per session. energy expenditure and increasing the frequency of training will result in a further loss of fat mass.

Low calorie diets not associated with motor activity, even if the reduction in caloric intake compared to the previous diet is moderate (500-1000 Kcal per day), instead they cause a moderate loss of water and lean mass, also causing a decrease in serum HDL levels (the so-called good cholesterol) and the reduction of basal metabolic rate.

Adequate physical activity, associated with a balanced diet and a moderate reduction in the daily caloric intake, is able to cancel these many negative effects by managing to:

  • Maintain or even increase lean mass while simultaneously reducing body fat and total weight;
  • Increase the basal metabolic rate favoring the maintenance of optimal body weight;
  • Maintain HDL levels within the normal range.

The most important and complicated goal to achieve is not so much weight loss, but the maintenance of optimal body weight. Most subjects who have had significant weight losses tend to regain the lost kg.

In conclusion, only through the improvement of eating habits and appropriate physical exercise is it possible to achieve the goal.

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