The benefits of losing weight

Being overweight increases your risk of developing 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 illness

Reducing your risk of serious life-threatening illnesses is an important health benefit. Many people feel that the best reward for losing weight is the fact that they feel healthier and are able to see an improvement. One of things that you'll most likely notice is your increased energy and overall fitness level.

Just 30 minutes a day

Even just 30 minutes of physical exercise broken down into three 10-minute sessions per day can be enough to increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which affects the rate at which you burn calories and ultimately determines whether you maintain, gain, or lose weight. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75% of the calories you burn each day.

In order to feel the benefits of exercising, you have to gradually increase the frequency and intensity of your training activities. This is essential for overall weight loss. It is therefore recommended to engage in physical activity every day, or at least five times a week.

The importance of the Body Mass Index (BMI)

The body's composition is generally divided into fat mass and lean mass, and can be determined by measuring an individual's height, weight, circumferences, and skinfold thickness.

Two approaches are commonly used to determine whether a person is 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 throughout your body.

The BMI is the most common way to determine if you are overweight or very overweight (obese). It measures the ratio between your height and weight. People who have a BMI over 30 are considered to be obese. Being obese constitutes a greater health risk than being overweight. People who have a BMI between 25 and 30 are generally considered to be overweight. Being overweight alone does not necessarily cause health problems, but could be a problem if the individual already has certain illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes.

Although useful and easy to calculate, the BMI calculation does not take the individual's physique and muscle mass into account.

Predicting risk of obesity

Measuring the circumference of the body is more accurate for predicting an individual's risk of obesity. Body fat distribution is an important factor for predicting risk of obesity. The circumferences of the arms, waist, hips, and thighs are measured in order to obtain an estimate of the body's composition.

You can get a better idea of how fat is distributed throughout your body by observing the relationship between your waist and your hips. If you have a relatively large amount of belly fat, your risk of disease is greater. The waist / hip ratio, as well as the waist / thigh, waist circumference, and neck measurements, can provide valuable information about an individual's 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 a 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 at rest
  • 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 exercise regularly, you will lose weight more easily than people who have a more sedentary lifestyle. In order to maximize the weight loss benefits, a complete physical activity program must include both strength and aerobic exercises aimed at building muscle and toning the body, as muscles are important for burning calories and promoting weight loss.

 

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