It often seems as though everyone in the world wants to lose weight. From advertisements to conversations with colleagues the topic of weight loss is ever present in society. Most people say they want to lose weight in order to improve their physical appearance and to enjoy better fitting clothes. But what are the health benefits of losing weight? How can your overall health, wellness, and quality of life improve by losing some extra weight? Will weight loss benefit you in ways other than looking great in a swimsuit? The short answer is yes. Below are six major ways that losing weight can improve your overall health.
Lower Cancer Risk
It is now well established that people suffering from obesity have a higher risk of at least seven types of cancer. Medical studies have consistently demonstrated that carrying extra weight and being at a higher risk of cancer are strongly connected. While the amount of medical studies demonstrating that losing weight actually lowers the risk of cancer somewhat less, the studies that have been done offer very convincing results. For instance, a recent study conducted in the United States indicates that women who lost about 20 pounds following menopause were nearly 60 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
Better Heart Health
There’s no denying that carrying extra weight also means carrying a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and heart disease. When you are at a healthy weight, your body can more easily circulate blood, balance fluids, and function at normal capacity. According to the American Heart Association, being overweight can raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, raise blood pressure, and even induce diabetes. However, a lower body weight will improve your heart health and possibly extend your life. This is one weight loss benefit that is the main motivating factor for many people each year, particularly those with a family history of heart disease.
Ask anyone who has lost weight and they will tell you that they’re more energetic and feel more vibrant. Why? One way to easily illustrate how losing weight can give you more energy is to attach a few ankle weights and wrist weights to your body that are equal to the amount of weight you’d like to lose. Then carry on with your regular for a few hours. When you start to feel tired, remove the weights. You will definitely feel more energetic, be able to move easier, and feel lighter. The more extra weight you carry each day, the more energy your body has to use to move about and function throughout the day. Losing that extra weight means your body is using less energy to move and perform daily tasks, freeing up energy for you to use on other things.
When people think of the health benefits of losing weight they often focus on the physical body. But mental health is just as important as physical health, and the confidence boost that comes from successful weight loss can be very beneficial. High confidence levels usually mean a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional conditions. Having a higher level of confidence can improve your relationships with family members and colleagues, help you attain a better job, increase your level of motivation and improve your overall sense of health and well-being.
Improved Lung Capacity
If you are tired of huffing and puffing throughout your day then you’ll really love this weight loss benefit. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study demonstrating that of the obese or overweight individuals who had asthma, those who lost weight experienced a high rate of symptom remission. Regardless of whether or not you have asthma, being able to literally breathe easier is one weight loss benefit that is surely worth the effort.
Better Sleep Quality
Many individuals who suffer from obesity are also plagued with conditions like sleep apnea. Even those who don’t have sleep apnea often report being unable to sleep through the night, waking frequently, not being able to fall asleep, or experiencing restless sleep. Sleep studies, such as a recent study out from Harvard University have shown that individuals who lose weight and maintain a healthy weight sleep better, are more well rested, and, as such, lower their risk of other health conditions and diseases.
So what does it take to obtain the amazing weight loss benefits described above? Most medical professionals suggest 30 minutes of activity per day, five days per week. However, consistency is the key to successful weight loss. So, if 20 minutes a day three times a week is the best you can do for now, start with that. And don’t forget to pay attention to your eating habits. Include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and beans in your diet. A nutritious diet and exercise together are what will set you up for success on your weight loss journey.