February 5, 2024
Just over 25% of Irish adults are categorised as obese, and at least 38% of Irish adults are overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of a range of diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Exercise is a great way to lose weight and feel good at the same time.
If you’re already thinking about losing weight, Congratulations! You have already reached the first stage in what is called the ‘cycle of change’ – contemplation.
But how do we get from contemplation to action? Losing weight is never easy and there’s no right answer that fits all when it comes to approaching it. Some people find success in numbers and join groups like Weight Watchers, some work with personal trainers and physiotherapists to achieve their goals. One thing is for certain: your best chance of succeeding is to combine diet with an appropriate exercise program.
Research has shown that when compared with no treatment, exercise results in small weight losses across studies. Exercise combined with diet results in a greater weight reduction than diet alone and increasing the exercise intensity increases the magnitude of weight loss. In a nutshell: diet is the best way to lose weight but diet and exercise is even better!
So how much exercise do you need to do and what type of exercise should you be doing? 150-250 minutes of moderate intensity exercise can provide modest weight loss but overweight and obese people likely need 250+ minutes to see serious reductions. It is important to start at a realistic level and progress, and it’s also important to realise that increased physical activity provides significant improvements in health, even without weight loss. Any activity is better than no activity!
Cardiovascular exercise like fast walking, jogging, gym workouts and sports that get your heart rate up are ideal, while strength training may help in the loss of fat mass. How do you know if you are exercising at enough intensity? You should feel out of breath when exercising, but still able to hold a light conversation.
A good way to design and track your exercise program is to use the FITT principle (Frequency, Intensity, Type, Time). If you have any questions on how to do this or need help with planning your exercise program, please contact one of our physiotherapists at 01 441 0100.