Journal Mobile

N Haboubi, K Axe
Journal Issue: 
Volume 38: Issue 1: 2008




Exercise is an important part of weight management, particularly in the long term. However, there is conflicting evidence about how much exercise obese subjects  need  to  perform. Diet, genetic  or  other  factors  may  contribute  to  the difference in weight between normal and obese subjects if physical activities are equal between groups. Obese subjects may therefore need to be more active and perform more exercise than their normal weight counterparts in order to lower or maintain their weight.

Regarding  the  amount  of  exercise, duration  has  a  greater  effect  on  weight  loss than intensity. Moderate-intensity exercise is as beneficial as high-intensity exercise for weight loss and, as it appears to be more attractive to obese subjects, leads to a greater adherence to exercise programmes.

Preservation of lean body mass is greater when exercise is performed as part of a weight management programme. If diet only is used for weight loss, lean tissue is lost. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise appears to preserve lean tissue, so both types of exercise should be encouraged.  Aerobic exercise has a greater effect on weight loss, but resistance exercise could potentially increase lean tissue. High-intensity  exercise  may  spare  more  lean  tissue  than  moderate  exercise, but the  benefits  of  greater  adherence  of  subjects  to  moderate  exercise  outweigh those of high-intensity exercise.

When barriers to exercise exist, lifestyle changes combined with diet should be advised. In  general, obese  subjects  should  be  encouraged  to  start  off  with  low-intensity exercise and gradually progress to a higher level.