Sport is considered healthy – and a way to reduce your own body weight. But it can also have the opposite effect, explains a movement expert.
Exercise is a popular way to control your own body weight. But as Karsten Köhler explains to Zeit Online, it’s not necessarily the most sensible thing to do. Köhler is a professor of exercise, nutrition and health and researches how physical performance can be optimized at the Technical University of Munich. According to him, you only lose a little weight through sport – and you can even gain weight.
Those who exercise often eat more
Your own body weight has a major impact on your health. The health insurance company AOK warns that obesity is one of the factors that increase the risk of various metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Paying attention to your own weight can therefore be useful. However, beauty trends and widespread ideals of beauty can go beyond a healthy level of slimness. Exercise expert Köhler also advises against constantly looking at your own weight – that could be unhealthy.
According to his explanations, sport is not always the right way to lose weight anyway. “We don’t lose weight through sport, or rather very little on average,” explains the expert. In addition, most people who do sports would adjust their eating habits, i.e. eat more. As a result, you can take in more energy than you use up. “There are even people who overcompensate, i.e. gain weight, when they exercise,” says Köhler.
Energy turnover through sport is often overestimated
Especially for beginners, the energy consumption in sport is not that great, and even hobby athletes often overestimate it, says Köhler. Endurance sports use more energy than strength circuits in the gym. But even there the result was limited: “Anyone who is untrained burns perhaps 300 to 400 kilocalories in a half-hour workout. If you do this three times a week and do nothing else about your behavior, it will take you about nine weeks to lose a pound of fat tissue.”
If you want to reduce your own body weight for health reasons, you can do so through sport – it just takes longer. According to Köhler, it also helps to change your diet. A healthy diet can not only affect weight, but also has many other positive effects on the body: for example, common diseases such as cardiovascular disease can be prevented and general well-being improves, writes the Bavarian Ministry of Health. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) presents 10 rules that you can follow to eat as balanced as possible.
Fitness more important than weight
According to Köhler, sport is nevertheless an important supplement to a healthy lifestyle: “The higher the energy consumption, the better the diet is linked to consumption.” you eat more than your body needs.
The right measure is therefore crucial. Don’t overdo it, warns the expert. “If you do a lot of sport and eat less at the same time, it can quickly become too much, so that there is a lack of energy.” With a view to the risk of most diseases, physical fitness is much more important than weight anyway – for example in the case of cardiovascular diseases or Type two diabetes.
Sources used: AOK, Zeit Online, Bavarian State Ministry for Health and Care, DGE
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