The obesity and overweight are all a public health problem that has been growing in importance for developed countries in recent decades. For example, in Spain the percentage of people who suffer from it reaches no less than 53.6%, according to data from the Nutritional Study of the Spanish Population.
These two conditions are serious, since they can have serious consequences for the health of the individual such as type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, currently the largest cause of death worldwide.
Normally, the treatment goes through changes in the diet added to the realization of physical exercise. Taking this into account, there is scientific evidence that allows us to choose certain types of exercises and routines most appropriate for this specific purpose.
The type of exercise
The first thing that is important to attend to is the type of exercise that we are going to do. In this sense, there is consensus that the most suitable for weight loss are cardiovascular (as is clear in a review of the scientific literature published in the International Journal of Obesity ), although the evidence suggests that the best strategy is combine them with strength exercises, in models such as ‘high intensity interval training’, the benefits of which have been confirmed by research published in the World Journal of Cardiology .
However, keep in mind that, for any exercise routine to be effective when losing weight, it is necessary to be patient: initially, progress will be slow. This is because, according to various reviews in the Journal of Obesity , changes in metabolism motivated by physical exercise (which are responsible for weight loss) take a while to become apparent.
It is also preferable to start training gradually, especially if you have not been doing too much physical activity before, since otherwise it can put excessive stress on the body and increase the risk of injury , as stated in the WHO recommendations. in this sense.
Finally, it is also vital to bear in mind that physical exercise does not in itself guarantee weight loss, but it is essential that the body uses more calories than it takes in. Thus, for it to work it is necessary to adopt a healthy and balanced diet.
How often to train to lose weight
Obviously, for exercise to have an effect on weight, it must be done regularly and constantly. over time. However, the frequency will depend on individual factors such as metabolism, diet and type of exercise.
However, it is possible to establish some general recommendations . Thus, the WHO recommends healthy adults to perform 75 minutes of high intensity exercise a week or 150 minutes of moderate exercise.
Similarly, the US Center for Disease Control , in conjunction with the American University of Sports Medicine, recommends three 20-minute intense exercise sessions each week, in conjunction with five weekly 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise.
For weight control, however, many scientific studies, such as one published in Physiology & Behavior , recommend doubling these amounts.
This would mean 150 minutes of intense exercise each week or 300 minutes of moderate exercise , remembering that it is preferable to dedicate a greater part of that time to cardiovascular exercise rather than to strength exercise.
When is it important to lose weight?
The different methods to lose weight endorsed by science are indicated for people who suffer from obesity or overweight, in such a way that the health compromises that these conditions entail are avoided. In any case, it is important that it be a specialist who evaluates our case, indicates the goal of weight loss and the way to follow to achieve it according to the particularities of each one.
On the contrary, people who are within normal values and in whom the weight does not imply a health risk should not be set as a goal to lose weight; Especially, behaviors aimed at losing weight for aesthetic reasons can be symptomatic of certain psychological problems related to self-image, so if we feel the urge or need to undertake them, it may be beneficial to consult a professional in this area.
That said, it is not harmful to exceed the above recommendations on physical exercise as long as it is not performed compulsively, the body is not subjected to excessive stress and a balanced, healthy diet adapted to our characteristics and circumstances is maintained.