In recent times, there has been much debate about whether physical activities such as regular exercises help with weight loss.
This has been the case due to a report which concluded that physical inactivity is not related to obesity. Rather, bad diet has been attributed to difficulty of weight loss. They support their statement from evidence that in the past 30 years, the self-reported physical activity times have not changed but the weight has increased dramatically, therefore suggesting that diet must be the cause of the weight gained.
The reason for why this has caused some stir in the literature community is because it is widely accepted that physical activity is directly associated with weight control.
You may be asking, why is there a blog about weight loss in a physiotherapy blog?
This is because obesity or increased weight is associated with not only with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer, but things like low back pain, hip issues and knee problems.
So, if we can help reduce a patient’s weight problem, we have a hope of a better outcome for one’s physical issues.
You may be asking by now: “Please clarify your position on whether physical activity does or does not affect weight loss.”
When you combine lots of research together, it is still very clear that physical activity DOES affect weight loss.
It seems as though when a research finding goes against the grain of the usual findings, they end up well publicised. This is exactly what happened with this research.
The authors based their physical activity level changes in the past 30 years from self-reported ‘leisure-related’ activities. This does not take into consideration the changes that have occurred in terms of our modes of transportation, the types of occupational roles and the changes in business activities in general. When you take out a chunk of crucial factors, the equation becomes very biased, leading to an incorrect conclusion.
We suggest, please, continue to spend time being active as per recommendation from our Australian Department of Health. I.e. accumulate 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity in a week.
Also, when you read popular articles or statements via social media, and it sounds controversial, please talk to your health professional. They will be able to organise a thought based on a more holistic set of scientific literature out there.
Tom Gilbert is physiotherapist who has an extensive background in sport. He is currently the Physiotherapist for the Youth Australian Men's Water Polo team, is the Head Physiotherapist for St Ives Rugby Seniors and runs the Youth Strengthening classes for St Ives Physiotherapy