Risks during Exercise for Weight Loss

Written by: Prof. Vojko Strojnik, Ph.D.

Exercise hand in hand with a diet is the most effective approach to weight control. It's about lifestyle and not a one-time event.

You Need to Spend the Energy, so Move

However simple it sounds, weight control is about keeping balance between consumed and spent energy. The more we eat, the more we have to move. Anyhow, for the best effect it is crucial to understand some more facts beyond the calorie counting, as explained in a much different psychological advice about weight loss.

All that Glitters Is Not Gold

Despite the constant promotion of exercise, we have to say that every exercise and every way of performing it is not appropriate for successful weight control. Even more, by exercising wrong we can endanger our health or even life.

Stimulating the sweating process or exhausting the glycogen from muscles are two of the most common mistakes.

Excessive Sweating

Many times we can see runners heavily dressed despite hot and dry weather. They have wind-stoppers, towels around their neck etc. to increase the sweat loss. And it's true that after the workout, the scale shows lower weight.

Is this helpful and real weight loss? Because when we talk about losing weight, we mean losing body fat – which losing fluids (dehydration) is definitely not.

Also, dehydration causes lower result of skinfold measurement, which can cause the impression of weight loss. Fat cells under your skin are actually keeping a lot of water and by dehydration we decrease their volume. Bodybuilders are especially known for doing so in order to decrease fat under skin and show the definition of their muscles. Did you know that some have to be carried from the stage due to the strong cramps that come with the dehydration?

How about Heart Attack?

There are even bigger problems that excessive sweating can cause. The sweat fluid is coming from our blood and when we sweat, the fluid secrets from blood, but blood cells and other "solid particles" stay in the cardiovascular system. So, due to dehydration, the blood thickens and its resistance increases. This causes decreased oxygen delivery to the brain and puts higher strain on the heart. The cycle continues by delivering less oxygen to the heart and it starts lacking the energy it needs.

Cardiac muscle in contrary to skeletal muscles cannot perform anaerobic energy processes that could provide energy despite lacking oxygen, or even more important, produce lactic acid that would alert us to the lack of energy. Thus, the heart muscle keeps working up to its sad end – heart attack – without any warning.

Severe dehydration increases possibility for a heart attack, especially for people with a weak heart.

Dehydration Inhibits Range and Intensity of Physical Activity

Dehydration has many other negative effects on our physical activity, such as shorter performance due to the exhaustion and slower movement.

Exaggerated sweating decreases duration of your activity and burned energy. When we lose approximately 2 liters (0.5 gallons) of fluid, power of our aerobic mechanisms decreases by about 20%. Meaning that when we want lose as much energy as possible, we don't want dehydration to occur.

Muscle Glycogen Depletion

Long-lasting movement without proper nutrition can lead to muscle glycogen depletion. Muscles that lack glycogen become more sensitive to injuries. Even intense stretching after a marathon can be dangerous.

Due to incomplete muscle fat burn, glycogen depletion causes production of ketone bodies that are acidic and are risky for our health. However, the professionals are not united about that topic yet. During a workout, concentration of ketone bodies in the blood can reach the third of the fatal amount for people with chronical diabetes.

You can exercise safer if you track your body parameters during your workout with the help of 24alife app - download form AppStore or Play Store.