Is it better to go on a diet or play sports to lose weight and feel good? –

Is it better to go on a diet or play sports to lose weight and feel good? –
Is it better to go on a diet or play sports to lose weight and feel good? –
from Daniela Natali

According to a US study, in order to defend health, it is better to give up the unsuccessful attempts to lose kilos and focus on exercise. But in reality both are needed

What if to lose weight, and above all protect our health, avoiding the risk of diabetes and heart damage, we focused on physical activity instead of diet? More: what if we completely stopped worrying about what we eat and transformed ourselves from couch potatoes, and that is from couch potatoes, into sportsmen?

The hypothesis

The proposal comes from America, where 70 percent of the adult population is overweight and 36.2 frankly obese and the warnings to eat less, especially to give up junk food, which have been repeated for decades, have not had any results. Indeed, they have often triggered the so-called yo-yo phenomenon: weight loss followed by recoveries (often with interests) which are extremely harmful to health because they are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Explains Gianfranco Beltrami, vice president of the Italian Sports Medical Federation: The research that is causing discussion, or rather the “review”, that is the revision of a series of previous studies, (authors Glenn Gaesser and Siddharta Angadi, recently published on iScience-Cell Press) entitled “Treatment of obesity: weight loss compared with the increase in physical activity for the reduction of health risks”. The study focuses on the importance of blood pressure control (underestimated, according to the authors) and increase in lung capacity and “muscle fitness” compared to decreasing body weight.

Do you agree with the statements of American colleagues who conclude their review by suggesting to forget about diets and focus on fitness? While I understand the (very justified) discouragement of American colleagues for programs aimed solely at controlling extra pounds, I would like to underline that the correct strategy focuses on both fronts without favoring one over the other. Weight reduction and physical activity are two complementary weapons to protect health. But when it comes to “diet”, I certainly do not think of the obsession with maniacally weighing everything, the mania of calculating calories or the demonization of certain foods and the “life-saving” intake of others. We need to think less about the “quantity” of food and more about its “quality”. No to junk food full of simple fats and sugars and poor in vitamins, fibers, minerals and often also in proteins and with a strong inflammatory action which, as we well know, is harmful to the whole organism

But does exercise by itself make you lose weight? It is rightly said in the study cited that although exercise does not generally lead to significant reductions in weight or body fat, it can significantly reduce visceral and “ectopic” fat: that which is where it shouldn’t be and invades the blood, liver, pancreas, bone marrow and even muscles and heart. And there are other benefits too.

What are the benefits? Reduction of blood pressure, improvement of glycemic control and of the general functioning of the cardiovascular system, decrease of lipids and that is of bad cholesterol. But the movement is also fundamental because it involves the release of endorphins, the hormones of good mood, which contribute to reducing the propensity towards “comforting” foods, generally rich in “bad” fats and “ready-to-use” sugars that cause insulin and cause a rapid return of appetite.

In the study cited we speak in particular of the beneficial role of cardio fitness, what exactly is it about? Apart from the fact that half an hour of brisk walking every day is already very useful and trains the heart; with cardiofitness we mean an aerobic workout that helps you lose weight and increases cardiac and respiratory efficiency. It takes place in a “circuit”, that is, by means of different machines or even elastic or small weights to be used in series, with different times and objectives.

Can you give us an example? You can do, at home, push-ups, free squats, abdominals, lunges, extensions with rubber bands, side raises with small weights, performing 15-20 repetitions for each exercise for at least three sets with short breaks. In the gym, on the other hand, you can do aerobic exercises with bikes, treadmills or elliptical exercisers alternating with exercises with crunch machine, pectoral machine, abductor and adductor machine, leg extension. Always doing three low-load sets with 20-second breaks between exercises.

October 22, 2021 (change October 22, 2021 | 20:05)


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