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  • 13Mar

    Why are exercises necessary in obesity treatment?

     Physical inactivity is a major contributing factor to weight gain. Lifestyle changes involving exercises and healthy diets are an option for the management of obesity because they exert beneficial effects on the whole body metabolism.  Diet (energy input) is only half of the energy equation – the second half is energy output (exercises). The input and output should be balanced to achieve weight loss. It is only possible by reducing the energy intake and increasing the energy output by doing exercises regularly.

    Goal of exercises

    The current obesity prone environment includes labour-saving devices and machines that promote inactivity and remove much of the physical effort from activities of daily living. Exercises enhance the success of a low calorie diet and are essential to avoid unwanted weight gain or regain after losing weight. Increasing physical activity is not merely an option for weight loss and weight maintenance, it is an essential component of success and a major lifestyle intervention challenge for people. The goal is to optimize energy expenditure, maintain metabolically active body and prevent musculoskeletal injuries.

    Body’s respond to exercises

    Exercises are a metabolic stress that acutely increases the demand for energy production. Fat and carbohydrate metabolism are both increased. Skeletal muscle glucose uptake and muscle glycogen utilization rate is increased. Fat metabolism is especially important during prolonged low intensity exercises, when carbohydrate stores are depleted and in the after-exercise recovery. Exercises training also results in an increase in the relative contribution of fat metabolism during exercises.

    Remember that with every step you are closer to your ideal weight!

    Remember that with every step you are closer to your ideal weight!

    Exercises safe for obese people

    Individuals with a BMI above 30 with increased risk of injury, dehydration or cardiac dysfunction would benefit from careful assessment by a physician and regular monitoring or supervision from a qualified health professional when exercises are recommended. Exercises prescription for an obese individual should entail three stages: initiating the exercises or activity, achieving the optimal level and continuing the on-going effort required for weight maintenance and preventing weight gain. Improvement in health risks such as impaired glucose tolerance (Diabetes mellitus), hypertension and dyslipidemia (excessive fats in blood) can be achieved with exercises of lower intensity and duration than required for improved cardiovascular fitness.



    One hurdle for exercises training programs is the successful implementation in patients with longstanding obesity. The level of exercises required to maintain a lower body weight after weight reduction is greater than that required during the energy-restricted phase. One simple approach to the need for gradually increasing exercises is to recommend purchase of a pedometer, asking patients to keep written records of daily step counts. Patients can be advised to increase the daily step count by approximately 10% per week. This approach also can be used to assess the patient’s compliance with advice and it encourages discussion of attitudes about exercises and potential limitations. During the maintenance phase after targeted weight reduction, exercises program can be moderated to a lower level.

    A good idea is to use an application on mobile phone to monitor exercises that are done every day. It  tracks and analyzes performance so that a patient can perform his exercises better. It allows sharing of workout data with friends via the Sports Tracker community, Facebook and Twitter, so it also works as motivator.

    Precautions for obese individuals

    Care must be taken to avoid sore muscles and the fatigue or injury that can occur when the activity level is increased too rapidly. Injuries must be avoided or the inactivity imposed during recovery from injury will undermine weight-loss efforts. Many overweight and obese individuals are challenged by body heat and sweat produced during exercises. Swimming minimizes heat stress and reduces the load on joints. Loose-fitting clothing prevents abrasion, chafing and overheating. Applying petroleum jelly to the skin between the thighs and in the armpit area can prevent chafing as well. Exercises reduce negative mood and is associated with improved sleep quality. Although exercises are often difficult to do, the benefits go beyond the energy cost.

    Anna L.

    It’s all about health!
    I have academic background in drugs related Chemical Technology, as well as extensive professional experience in pharma and medical companies. My main area of interest is everyday life medicine. The goal of my articles is to give people informative answers to the questions that bother them, to dispel doubts and some common misbeliefs and also to inspire everyone to keep healthy lifestyle.

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