How Exercise Physiology Supports Weight Management

How Exercise Physiology Supports Weight Management

April 27, 2023 by Jessica Percy

Exercise – it’s like a superpower for our bodies, providing countless benefits for physical and mental health. While weight loss is often seen as the ultimate goal of exercise, it’s important to realise that most of us don’t need to lose weight to reap the endless rewards of movement. 

In fact, many of us who engage in regular exercise do so for reasons that far exceed weight loss. This includes stress relief, improved mood, social interaction, improved cognition, or simply for the enjoyment of movement. 

However, for those who are dealing with weight-related health issues such as obesity, diabetes, or heart disease, weight loss can be an important goal for improving overall health and reducing disease risk. In this blog, we’ll explore the role exercise physiology has in weight loss – particularly for those who may need to lose weight to manage health conditions. 

Weight does not equal health  

Before we go any further, it’s important to realise that weight does not equal health. Using your body weight as the key metric for your overall health and well-being is an outdated and inaccurate measure. There is a growing body of research that suggests weight is not the sole determinant of health, and that people of all body sizes can be healthy.  

That’s not to say that exercise doesn’t play a major role in leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercise offers so many benefits that far outweigh the results on the scales. However, exercising with the main objective of weight loss is rarely necessary or sustainable.  

In fact, a study by the Journal of Health Psychology found that participants who exercised for weight loss were less likely to stick with their exercise program than those who exercised for reasons such as enjoyment, stress relief, or improved health.  

A separate study suggested that those who focused on achieving specific exercise-related goals, such as running a 5K or lifting a certain amount of weight, were more successful in sticking with their exercise program. 

That being said, weight loss can still be a powerful motivator for some people, particularly those who are dealing with weight-related health issues. It’s important for each individual to find their own motivation for exercise, whether it’s improving overall health, reducing stress, or achieving specific fitness goals. 

With so many reasons to get moving, we encourage our clients to dig a little deeper to find their ‘why’?  

Exercise for weight loss 

As we touched on above, there are some cases when losing weight may be necessary to manage certain health conditions. Carrying excess weight can put a strain on many of the body’s systems, including the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, and the musculoskeletal system. There are several health conditions that can be linked to excess weight, and weight loss may be an appropriate goal for managing these conditions.

These include: 

  • Type 2 diabetes: Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and weight loss can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. 
  • Cardiovascular disease: Obesity is also a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Weight loss can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of these conditions. 
  • Joint pain: Carrying excess weight can put extra stress on the joints, leading to conditions such as osteoarthritis. Weight loss can help reduce joint pain and improve mobility. 

How exercise physiology can help with weight loss 

When it comes to weight loss, exercise physiology plays a vital role in helping clients understand the mechanisms by which exercise can help them lose weight.  

At Akins Health, our team specialises in devising exercise programs that help manage conditions such as obesity, heart disease, and joint pain. We work closely with our clients to structure a program that not only promotes weight loss but also improves strength, endurance, mobility and functionality – depending on the client’s unique needs and goals.   

Through our programming, we incorporate a range of different exercises for weight loss that can be effective for managing overall health. Generally, this includes a blend of cardiovascular training, and strength training. Often our clients may be new to exercise. We find pilates is one of the best exercises for weight loss – particularly for those starting out on their exercise journey. 

Pilates emphasises the use of the smaller muscles in the body to support its structure. It is suitable for people of all ages, genders, abilities, and fitness levels, including beginners and elite athletes, because of its low impact nature. Pilates can also be customised for special needs, such as treating clinical conditions. With its focus on the connection between the mind and body and its ability to offer a variety of benefits to individuals at different levels of fitness, Pilates is a highly effective form of exercise. 

In most cases, an exercise plan for weight loss is the result of extensive collaboration between our exercise physiologists and personal trainers. The expertise of exercise physiologists can help personal trainers design workout programs that are tailored to the unique needs and goals of each individual, and how to modify exercise programs for individuals with health issues.  

If you’re interested in incorporating exercise into your weight management plan or improving your overall health and wellness, our team of exercise physiologists and personal trainers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can work together to help you unlock the joy of movement.  

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