Raised body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for many disease including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several cancers (Johns, 2014).
Often with weight management diet is the primary practice used to lower weight. Exercise is well proven to promote significantly more weight loss, and sustainable weight loss, when a continuous exercise program is developed. A behavioral weight management program (BWMP) combining diet and exercise does not begin to show its benefits until 12 months, where weight loss continues to be significant through 18 months of the program. This suggests that in the first few months of a combined program diet promotes weight loss but over time, exercise allows for sustained weight loss and continuation of weight loss. Temporary weight loss does not necessarily require physical activity (PA) but it is extremely helpful for longer term success of weight management.
Health related quality of life (HRQOL) is determined primarily by mood in response to diet and exercise’s impact on weight loss and mood. Weight loss and exercise both improve mood and the combination of the two is much more effective than diet alone. Particularly in older, frail and obese adults, weight loss itself has been shown to improve cognition, improving HRQOL and provide positive experiences due to exercise. Generally exercise promotes a positive experience, not necessarily because of reduced weight but because of the rewards of increased aerobic fitness and muscle strength.
When it comes to recommendations of PA for weight loss the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate ET to maintain weight and improve health. 150-250 min to prevent weight gain, 225-420min to promote clinically significant weight loss, and 200-300 minutes a week to prevent weight gain after weight loss (Swift, 2014).
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. Join her for live classes and The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online for more learning opportunities.