How many times per week do I need to workout to lose weight?

How to lose weight and prevent regains

Overweight man with doctor The prevalence of obesity has grown to pandemic proportions. In fact, recent estimates show that 36.5% of U.S. adults during 2011-2014 were obese. Obesity has a huge negative impact on quality of life acting as a social burden and is associated with an increase in cardiovascular risk. Moreover, obesity and correlated comorbidities contribute to the development of disabilities.
However, obesity is a modifiable condition, the World Health Organization recommends a change in lifestyle to achieve a 5-10% reduction in body weight. In addition, it is well documented that this reduction provides significant health benefits.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines regarding obesity are clearly defined recommending exercise five days per week. The assigned intensity is moderate to vigorous, initially between the 40% and 60% of heart rate reserve (HRR). Aerobic training is most commonly advised, involving large muscle groups to achieve a higher energy expenditure and the suggested duration of exercise is a minimum of 30 minutes per day initially, increasing moderately up to 60 minutes per day.
Besides, energy expenditure must exceed energy intake to reduce body weight, thus a low calorie diet is also necessary. In addition, a recent systematic review showed that low caloric diets have a significant effect on weight loss, but exercise generates a better result in reducing visceral adiposity (VAT), and VAT is highly related to morbidity and mortality. So both diet and exercise play a key role in weight loss and reduce correlated risks. However, being involved in regular physical activity is also necessary to prevent unwanted weight gains. Indeed, many of those who were initially overweight or obese regain some of the weight they may have lost. Scientific researches also indicated that people who perform regular physical activities are less likely to regain unwanted weight than those who follow a diet only.
To conclude, it is suggested to perform physical activity for 30-60 minutes per day, five time per week to aid in weight loss. Although we heavily suggest that physical activity should be a part of everyday life.

References:

  • ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, Ninth Edition, 2014
  • Verheggen RJ, Maessen MF, Green DJ, Hermus AR, Hopman MT, Thijssen DH. A systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of exercise training versus hypocaloric diet: distinct effects on body weight and visceral adipose tissue. Obes Rev. 2016 Aug;17(8):664-90. doi: 10.1111/obr.12406. Epub 2016 May 23. Review. PubMed PMID: 27213481.
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