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CAN EXERCISE BE BLAMED FOR UNWANTED WEIGHT GAIN?

Have u ever tried to start a vigorous exercise regime and end up gaining weight or gain all the lost weight soon after quitting the regime? Was it just with you or is this a real phenomenon with a reliable scientific reason?



So yes, it’s very true and a common experience in active human life and it do have a lot many reasons. Physical exercise plays a highly crucial role to play in health, well-being, fitness and of course losing excess weight. However, the problem arises when one forgets the importance of balanced dietary intake along with the physical activity. People tend to think that if they are actively involved in high intensity workout, they can eat whatever they like in no fixed amount. Although when a person is gaining weight even after exercise, it is worthwhile to check his quality and the quantity of food intake. Remember “if exercise is 1 step forward, bad diet is 10 steps backwards.”


An exercise only benefit when done on a regular basis, but habits doesn’t develop overnight. It requires constant zeal, passion and determination on part of the practitioner. The problem with people is that, they start with heavy workout and get disheartened on failure to achieve the desired goal in short span of time easily giving up the regime and returning back to their sedentary lifestyle. Before giving in, you should be aware of what ill effects this sudden quitting of exercise is going to have on you!

  1. Weight gain: People very easily to quit exercising but they ignore the fact that they also need to curb their calories when they return from active lifestyle to sedentary one. The body’s metabolism slows down and hence now it is on positive energy balance i.e. calorie intake is more than its expenditure. Muscles lose their capability to burn as much fat. Hence, the body is loaded with extra fat which eventually stores underneath skin as adipose tissue giving a sharp increase to all the lost weight or even more than original weight in a very short span of time.

  2. Spiked blood sugar levels: Excess intake especially of refined carbs in diet and absence of unrefined carbs increases the post-prandial blood level. Exercising help muscle take up this glucose, which is greatly reduced when one suddenly stops exercising. These blood glucose levels remain elevated for a longer period of time. A study concludes that even three days of inactivity in a young, healthy individual imposes higher risk of developing glucose intolerance that is eventually diabetes!

  3. Increased oxygen demand: one must have encountered shortness of breath on climbing the stairs, reduced stamina and capacity to do heavy load of work. Ever wondered why? This is again due to sudden stoppage of physical exercise. Confused? You must have heard that exercising boosts stamina but reduced stamina after exercise! This is noticeable after few weeks of quitting exercise. Aerobic exercises help the heart to pump blood to the body but when a person stops exercising, slowly it becomes difficult for the heart to handle excess blood flow. Also the VO2 max decreases i.e. the maximum ability of muscles, lungs and heart to use oxygen during exercise reduces, termed as VO2 max. VO2 max is also the index of aerobic health of a person.

Therefore, one must understand that correct, balanced, nutritious diet and physical activity are parallels of the same track. They always go hand in hand. If one has to lose weight, he has to follow a calculated diet with workout. Likewise it is difficult to achieve your weight goal simply by following the meal plan without indulging healthy exercising habits. “Proper nutrition is the key of getting most out of a workout”.


Having seen the demerits of quitting exercise doesn’t mean that one doesn’t even start at first place. Rather if you have noticed so far, it is very much evident what health benefits regular exercise has on a person. Just remember, if you want to reach a weight goal then:

  1. Be patient

  2. Start physical activity with grass root level i.e. simple exercising like brisk walking, cycling, running for small span of time, say 10min.

  3. Do not start heavy, intense workout like weight lifting at once.

  4. Get a well-planned diet chart according to your age, sex, BMR, activity level preferably for a negative energy balance.

  5. There no need to curb on your favourite meals, just have control on frequency and quantity of your meals.

  6. Don’t stress yourself if you are not seeing results in few days, you didn’t gain all the weight in just one day.

  7. Get enough sleep, and have a positive attitude.

  8. Be persistent, you will surely get colourful results.



Learn to enjoy what you do, don’t just exercise to lose weight. Lead an active life for the health benefits it brings along. Obviously it is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle approach that you offer yourself!


By

Uzma Bano

@_dietista._ and @u_z_bano

(A student of BSc. Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and a diploma in DNHE at IGNOU. She has successfully completed certification courses on ‘Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes’ and ‘Ramadan and Diabetes’ from International Federation of Diabetes. She has also published an interesting article on ‘Lactose Intolerance’ in book of Healthy Flavors by Nutrishala)

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