Bodyweight and Weight Loss in Relation to Health

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There is a direct relation between bodyweight and health. When a person is overweight, it means that they are carrying around extra weight in the form of fat. This extra weight can put strain on the heart and lungs, and it can also lead to diabetes. Being overweight is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. On the other hand, being underweight can also be dangerous. If a person does not have enough fat on their body, they can become malnourished. This can lead to a host of health problems, including weakness, anemia, and even death. It is important to maintain a healthy bodyweight in order to maintain good health.

Healthy weight loss

Many factors influence weight loss. Some of them relate to nutrition, some to genetics, others to lifestyle and physical activity. These factors need to be properly understood if they are to be successfully managed and applied to bring satisfying results.

The factors that can influence the increase in body weight are(1):

  • Family history and genetics as obesity tends to run in families, which suggests genes might play a role
  • Race or ethnicity as some racial and ethnic groups are more likely to have obesity (for example African Americans, Latinos and Caucasians)
  • Age as many people gain weight as they age because basic metabolic rate drops down as people get older
  • Sex for example in Unites States obesity is more common in black or Hispanic women than in Hispanic men
  • Eating and physical activity habits because physical activity influences energy expenditure and people that are more active are less likely to develop obesity and eating patterns influence energy intake as beverages (such as sweetened fizzy drinks) and foods (snacks such as crisps, sweets etc.) contain macronutrients, which provide the body with calories
  • Family habits and culture as family eating and lifestyle may affect one’s health and weight, an example would be being forced to join regular family dinners, where the foods served are either unhealthy or served in large quantities and family members are always expected to finish their plate out of politeness
  • Amount of sleep people that do not have enough sleep tend to snack more due to leptin secretion disturbances, which increases appetite throughout the day
  • Other factors relating to medications and diseases, such as medicines, medical conditions, binge eating disorders and stress where for instance, one may decide to have a snack while stressed to uplift the mood or take certain medications that lower basic metabolic rate (some can slow down the metabolism)
  • Lifestyle factors such as where one lives, works, plays and worships as people might be more likely to reach out for unhealthy snacks if they have access to them – for instance, if there’s a vending machine at work and workers get hungry, they will be more likely to reach out for unhealthy food, because it’s more convenient and generally available

Cardiovascular exercises

Cardiovascular exercise brings many benefits. Some of them are(2) improved cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure (long term), helping to regulate blood sugar, reduces asthma symptoms and chronic pain, aids sleep, regulates body weight, strengthens the immune system, improves brain power, boosts mood and reduces the risk of falls.

Different exercises tend to have more or less efficient depending on the situation. For instance, running might be more effective than walking if performed for the same amount of time, but it might be unsuitable for the elderly, especially if they suffer from bone conditions such as osteoporosis or arthritis, where high-impact movements are contraindicated. On the other hand, youngsters might be more likely to exercise in a way that brings more excitement and elements of competition and such activities could be football or rugby, which are popular team games that bring together elements of competition excitement, which means they are less boring due to fluctuations in intensity over the period of the game and that could make it more effective in terms of bodyweight reduction, however, this is not the only the benefit. As one is required to alternate the intensity of activity, that is sprint in some cases and jog in the others, but is required to constantly stay in motion, which emphasizes the dominance of aerobic energy system throughout most of the game, this type of training can be also classified as interval training and due to the presence of high-intensity effort might cause one to expend more energy during the game. Cycling for instance tends to be less taxing and more suitable for generally tired people, vulnerable individuals or the elderly as it does not require complicated motor coordination and the chance of injury is greatly decreased, while the effort is produced actively, mostly by leg muscles, which are generally bigger than the muscles of the arms and they require more energy to fuel. Another factor to consider is the weight of the individual because obese people are simply not suited for high-impact movements such as running, sprinting, etc. which are a part of most of the team games as this could potentially put too much stress on their joints.

Health benefits

To sum up, all types of exercise have their pros and cons and while choosing the type of activity one would need to wisely choose which type of exercise suits best their body type, age, etc. in order to get the best results, while decreasing the chance of injury to a minimum, but in terms of effectiveness all aerobic exercises increase energy expenditure and can help to burn more calories, but the ones that engage larger muscle groups would require more energy, therefore would be more effective. In terms of motor coordination, the exercises that rely on complicated movements might not be so efficient for some (e.g. obese people, the elderly and disabled), because the inability to perform such movements correctly, swiftly, efficiently and with adequate speed would require them to slow down the pace, which would influence the effort and decrease the number of calories required to fuel such movements.

References:

  1. NIDDK, Factors Affecting Weight & Health, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/factors-affecting-weight-health
  2. Ashley Marcin(2020), What Are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise?, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/benefits-of-aerobic-exercise
  3. Jane Chertoff, What Is Progressive Overload Training?, accessed on 26/06/21, available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/progressive-overload

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