The benefits of losing weight

Being overweight increases your risk of long-term health problems that could shorten your life, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Preventing these serious illnesses is often the main health reason for losing weight.

Reduce your risk of disease

Reducing your risk of serious life-threatening illnesses is an important health benefit. Many people may feel that the best reward for losing weight is feeling healthier and seeing an improvement. One of things you might notice is having more energy and an increase in your fitness.

Just 30 minutes a day

Even just 30 minutes of daily physical exercises broken into three sessions of 10 minutes of physical activity every day may be sufficient to increase the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and this affects the rate that you burn calories and ultimately whether you maintain, gain, or lose weight. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75% of the calories you burn every day.

To feel the benefits of exercising, you have to gradually increase the intensity and frequency of training. This is key for overall weight loss. So you should do physical activity every day or at least five times a week.

The importance of Body Mass Index (BMI)

In general, body composition is divided into fat mass, and lean mass and can be measured by height, weight, circumferences and skinfold thickness.

Two approaches are commonly used to determine if people are overweight: the body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement. The BMI helps to determine how much you weigh in relation to your height. Waist measurements give you an idea of how fat is distributed in your body.

The BMI is the most common way to try to work out if you’re overweight or very overweight (obese). It measures the relationship between weight and height. People who have a BMI over 30 are considered to be obese. Being obese is a greater risk to health than being overweight. People who have a BMI between 25 and 30 are usually considered to be overweight. Being overweight alone does not necessarily cause health problems, but it could be a problem if the person already has certain illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.

Although useful and simple to calculate, BMI doesn’t take into account the physique and muscle mass of the person.

Predicting risk of obesity

Measuring the circumference of the body is more accurate for predicting the risk of obesity. The distribution of body fat is an important predictor of the risk of obesity. The circumference of the arm, waist, hips, thigh is taken into account to obtain an estimate of body composition.

You can get a better idea of how fat is distributed in your body by looking at the relationship between your waist and your hips. If you have a relatively big amount of belly fat, your risk of disease is higher. The waist / hip ratio, waist / thigh, waist circumference or neck measurements provide information on the level of risk of hypertension, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disorders and premature death.

The overall benefits of losing weight:

  • An increase in lean body mass and reduction in fat mass
  • An increase in the efficiency of the use of fats and carbohydrates in food
  • An increased metabolism and energy expenditure even while resting
  • An improvement in cardiovascular efficiency
  • Lower blood pressure
  • A reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular problems and metabolic diseases
  • A reduction in LDL cholesterol (harmful cholesterol), triglycerides and fat accumulated and deposited on a visceral level.

If you do regular physical activity, it will be easier for you to lose weight than people who have a more sedentary lifestyle. To really benefit from losing weight, a complete physical activity programme must include both strength and aerobic exercises to increase muscles and tone the body, as muscles are important to burn off calories and promote weight loss.

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Read An introduction to losing weight
Read How to lose weight effectively
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