The lifestyle choices we make about caloric intake and expenditure have a predominant impact toward overweight problems or the development of obesity. In order to lose excess fat weight, a negative caloric balance needs to be established, which can be achieved through decreasing the calories we consume or increasing the calories we expend. According to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommendations, a person attempting to lose weight should combine physical activity/exercise and moderate caloric restriction. Although the precise contribution of exercise is not strictly outlined and is still debated, this simple combination appears to be the best and most effective in weight management, maintaining lean mass and avoiding excessive drops in metabolic rates.
Theoretically, if you include exercise to your everyday life, this can make a significant alteration in your weight maintenance. For example, if you burn 100 kcal per day over your total daily caloric need for a year, you are expected to lose over 10 lb of body fat. In theory we can make the assumption that for a period of 10 years you should lose about 100 lb of body weight, but in reality this is not likely to be the outcome. The reason is because our body constantly adapts to the way we live, when we gain extra fat or lose excessive amount of body weight, the metabolic rate lowers as a self-preservation precaution. In terms of weight loss this could be interpreted that in order to experience reasonable results, you should perform regular exercise and allow some time for the body to adapt and raise the resting metabolic rate.
According to general recommendations, a person who is attempting to lose weight should exercise at a low to moderate intensity for a length of time that will lead to expenditure of approximately 200 to 300 kcal. According to ACSM guidelines, the initial exercise prescription for an obese person should be low-intensity aerobic exercise. The exercise session should be designed to expend from 200 to 300 kcal. As fitness levels improve and physical performance increase, moderate-intensity exercise may become possible and the amount of caloric expenditure may also be increased for further results.
Because of the excessive stress on the joints of obese people during weight loss exercise sessions, low-impact activities, such as low-intensity aerobics, walking and swimming, should be chosen to minimize the chance of orthopedic injury. Another important issue that have to be taken into consideration is that obese people may feel self-conscious when exercising. The choice of an exercising setting that helps alleviate these feelings such as: specialized classes for weight loss or beginners aerobic classes, may improve exercise adherence.
It has also been suggested that people who are restricting calories might benefit from resistance training. It should be clear that by their nature strength exercises are low caloric cost effective and do not provide direct essential help toward weight loss. But in fact they prove to be beneficial for maintaining (or even increasing) lean body mass, and elevating resting metabolic rate, which would increase the total amount of daily caloric expenditure, thus aiding in the weight loss process.
If you are beginner, you should start exercising, whether aerobic or resistance training, at low intensity and increase intensity slowly in order to decrease the chance of injury to get encouraged and to be easier to stick to the program.
In addition to the physical benefits of regular exercise, it usually boosts psychological variables. Improvements in self-esteem and self-efficacy are common outcomes for those engaging in regular exercise. The empowerment that comes from the feeling of being fit and more physically capable, can significantly contribute to the resolve to live a healthy lifestyle.
Edward T. Howley, PhD: University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B. Don Franks, PhD: Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. Health Fitness Instructor’s Handbook THIRD EDITION 1997.
- General Exercise Recommendations For Everyone
- Exercise Recommendations For People Leading Sedentary Lifestyle
- Exercise Recommendations For Moderately Active People