The role of exercise in weight management

Exercise is very significant in weight management, as increasing your activity levels increase the body’s fuel consumption (calories). It is highly beneficial for keeping the weight off once they’re gone if your exercise is in coordination with your continuing diet plan.


Other than helping you achieve a healthier weight it can prevent or even reverse the effects of certain diseases, lower blood pressure and cholesterol to decrease the likelihood of a heart attack, strengthen your bones (reducing your risk of a fracture) and improve your ability to do everyday tasks. The main reason why there needs to be a combination of physical activity and diet to assist with weight management is that 50% of individuals who lose weight through diet eventually regain the weight they lost.


A more important fact to know is there has been researching looking at the relationship between fitness, weight, heart health and longevity. The results show its exercise, not weight loss, that is “consistently associated with greater reductions in mortality risk”. This study found that exercise and improved fitness among sedentary and obese men and women lowered their risk of premature death by as much as 30 per cent, even if they didn’t lose weight.


How much exercise do I need?

Initially, you want to start slowly, as the goal is to eventually work up to 30 minutes most days of the week. If your schedule requires it, you can split this into shorter periods of a few minutes at a time.  As you continue to exercise and build up your strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, you can graduate to longer and more intense activities.


The goal is to reach the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for physical activity which is to do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (walking, cycling, jogging, or swimming) or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (high intensity). Lastly, we will need to include 2-3 of resistance training. If you can do this, you will be a part of the 45% of Australians that reach these guidelines.


Is it better to do resistance training or aerobic training


The topic of resistance vs aerobic training has been an age-old debate, with the misunderstanding that lifting weights will make you big and bulky and aerobic exercises will cause you to lose both fat and muscle. But none of these points is 100% true. This is because they are both highly helpful in their ways. Aerobic training helps with building up the strength of your heart and lungs. While weight training will help to build and maintain lean muscle mass and bone density. Cardio and resistance training are tools that you can use together to benefit your overall health. The main point is we need to do both to get the best result, one is not better than the other, but they do offer different benefits


How do I stay motivated?

Most people know that being physically active is important for their health, but it can be hard to stay motivated and make exercises habitual. Ways of staying motivated include

  • Choose exercises you enjoy
  • Switch to another activity if you find yourself getting bored
  • Join a group class
  • Invite a friend or family member to join you
  • Use reminders to jog your memory
  • Plan and schedule your activities in advance


If you are unsure how to start or need assistance on how to incorporate exercise into your life. Please book an appointment with one of our exercise physiologists for a personalised program that will fit your lifestyle.





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