Recently an athlete of mine asked about the benefits of weight loss, and she mentioned she thought it was because you had to move less weight.
That’s true to a point, but the worth of losing some weight goes far beyond that.
Less Weight to Move Up & Forward
The first point that my athlete mentioned was that you had to carry less weight around. If you want to know the significance of this go for a run with 30 pounds of text books or rocks in a backpack. You’ll quickly find out how much weight matters. If you lose 10, 20, or 50 pounds that’s you removing the backpack.
Better Strength to Bodyweight Ratio
Your one rep max bench press vs your weight is a common standard comparison. Or tests such as the Army Physical Fitness Test include situps and pushups. The less you weigh the more likely you are to complete these successfully. or the Police Officer Physical Ability Test may have a vaulting station where a lighter body will be beneficial.
One of the biggest measuring devices in cycling is your Power to Weight ratio, or how many watts you can put out in relation to your body weight. A rider needs to be able to have a PWR of 6.8 watts/kg in a 30 minute test to have a chance of winning the Tour de France.
For running, VO2 Max, or the maximal amount of oxygen you can utilize at one time also is heavily influenced by your weight.
The less you weigh the more economic of a runner you’ll be, but you’ll also have more energy to spare during your regular daily activities. Imagine wearing a backpack with textbooks in it every time you had to stand up from your desk and go to the bathroom or copy machine!
This is when the body recovers from the stresses of the day, be that stress from exercise or otherwise. Studies have even suggested that losing weight can reduce sleep apnea symptoms!
Having lost 80 pounds myself, I am strongly aware of how important being happy with your body is. It’s not just about feeling good with how you look, but it makes you more confident in your life in general.
Better Quality of Living
Simply put, you’ll be able to have a better life if you’re carrying around 50-200 fewer pounds. Hiking will become more enjoyable, you’ll be able to fit into cramped seats more comfortably, or doing yard work will become easier. I also noticed that with my own weight loss my allergies and asthma have been greatly reduced.
Contrary to popular belief, long time runners actually have better knee and joint health for two main reasons. 1) The activity helps strengthen the bones and muscles that support the joints. 2) Athletic people tend to weigh less, which reduces the pressure put on joints from above.
Improved waist to hip ratio
While this may seem like a silly number, the waist to hip ratio has actually been shown to be a fairly reliable and consistent method of assessing health risk and conditions.