Exercise alone does not lead to weight loss in women.

New research shows that exercise alone does not lead to weight loss in women.

Research just carried out at Bangor University may provide some answers as to why some people struggle to lose weight despite their best efforts at exercising.

Dr Hans-Peter Kubis of Bangor University states “our study showed that using exercise training alone for weight loss is not effective in females, whether lean or obese. The researchers found that women who engaged in exercise classes three times per week for 4 or 8 weeks but did no change their diet failed to lose any weight.

weight loss


Part of the reasoning behind this is that those who exercise experience an increase in appetite and, whether consciously or unconsciously, will increase their food intake. The researchers found that overweight individuals showed changes in blood hormone markers that were drivers of increased hunger. This was not present in leaner individuals. The team says that this may partly explain why exercise alone may not lead to weight loss. Our body system is so well regulated, that it always finds a way to compensate for a loss in energy after exercise.

Despite this, exercise has been shown to improve several risk factors for disease and is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Dr Kubis also suggests that we should not always focus on weight, saying:

“Knowing how much fat and muscle we have in our body is much more important than knowing how much we weigh. When we focus on weight alone, we miss the improvements achieved via exercise training.

Seeing no change on scales may be enough to make people give up on their exercise training, not realising that they have actually improved their body by gaining muscle mass.

The study involved two experiments. For the first experiment, 34 women aged 18 to 32 years took part in a circuit exercise training session three times per week for a total of 4 weeks.

The second experiment included 36 women of the same age group, all of whom took part in the same training sessions, but for a total of 8 weeks.

The researchers measured the body composition of the participants and took blood samples to analyse appetite hormones, which can alter appetite and food intake. They found that none of the women lost weight, whether they were lean or overweight prior to the intervention. However, lean females gained muscle mass.

Supplements such as turmeric can be helpful in addressing inflammation and feeding gut bacteria. This can be useful in aiding weight loss.


Glucosamine Ineffective for Treating Joint Pain.

Ditch the Glucosamine pills. Start exercising for healthier joints

Evidence for Glucosamine in Treating Knee Arthritis

Glucosamine for Knee Arthritis

A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Arthritis & Rheumatology, does not find any difference between the effects of glucosamine and placebo when taken for knee pain over a four year period. This conclusion was a result of an extensive study carried out on over 1600 people with knee pain. According to the researchers glucosamine and chondroitin did not relieve pain and regenerate the joint cartilage as claimed by their manufacturers.

In fact, another trial carried out earlier in 2010 had come up with similar findings.  The effects of glucosamine were studied on over 600 individuals with knee osteoarthritis. The results showed that though the supplements relieved pain slightly at the onset, they were no more effective than a placebo in the long term. The study was published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. Analysis of more than a dozen randomised controlled trials that were conducted between 1994 and 2014 was also inconclusive. None of the studies could prove the benefits of glucosamine on different elements of osteoarthritis such as pain, swelling, cartilage health and mobility issues. The U.S. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence does not include this drug in its guidelines for knee arthritis treatment due to insufficient evidence.

Experts caution against spending money on such yet-to-be proven products. Even the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) does not recommend glucosamine for patients with osteoarthritis as the effects remain questionable. Clinicians are urging individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee, to opt for a healthier and effective alternative such as exercise. Healthy joints can only be achieved through regular exercise. And as a physiotherapist myself, I cannot agree enough.

Is Exercise harmful for Joint Pain?

A low intensity exercise regime is extremely joint friendly. It exerts a healthy stress on the joints. There is a cyclic loading-unloading of cartilage in the weight bearing joints like hip, knee and foot as we exercise.  This increases their blood supply. The pain producing chemicals are washed away and replaced by oxygen and nutrients that help in cartilage regeneration. This reduces pain and promotes cartilage health. Furthermore, exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints. Stronger muscles offset the loads passing through the joint, thus minimising pain.  In addition, exercise maintains flexibility of the joint capsules, ligaments, tendons and muscles around the joint. This prevents joint stiffness.

Link Between Weight Loss and Arthritis Pain

The third and most useful effect of exercise is weight loss. Increased body weight puts greater load on the joints, sparking early degeneration. Every extra kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body mass increases the load on your knee by almost 4 kilograms (nearly nine pounds).
Low impact exercises help to burn the extra flab which in turn reduces pressure on the joints. Research shows that a weight loss of a mere 11 pounds has a positive impact on your joint health. Optimal body weight stalls joint degeneration.

Other proven benefits of exercise:

– A daily dose of low to moderate intensity exercise increases cardiac efficiency, thus regulating your heart rate and blood pressure.

– A 35 minute aerobic workout boosts your lung capacity, bringing in more oxygen and flushing out the carbon dioxide.

– A healthy workout is a tonic for the mind too. All the ‘happy hormones’ released during exercise decrease depression, leaving you relaxed and rejuvenated.

– A weekly 150-180 minute workout keeps you in shape, enhancing your confidence and body image.

– Exercise is a natural immune booster. When done through the year, it decreases your odds of illnesses like cold and flu.

Exercise, when done the right way, has absolutely no side effects. Glucosamine supplements, on the other hand can cause adverse effects like headaches, drowsiness, heartburn, allergic reactions, weight gain, stomach upset, abdominal pain etc. Those who have never exercised should begin slowly and step up the intensity, duration and frequency of exercise gradually. It is advisable to consult a physiotherapist before beginning an exercise routine, especially the first timers.

Manage arthritis with exercise. Stay Active!!

Note: Always consult with your physician before embarking on an exercise program.This blog is brought to you by Naas Physio Clinic.

For more information contact the Physio Clinic on (045) 874682 or email us at info@physioclinic.ie


High Heels May Aggravate Back Pain

Heels more than 2.5 inches high possible cause of back pain- Say experts

High heels and back pain by Naas Physio Clinic

Stilettos are an integral part of a woman’s wardrobe. While they may do wonders for your iage, this may come at a price. The majority of women reported increased discomfort or pain in the low back after wearing heels. It’s not only the back but also the knees, ankle and foot that bear the brunt of the strain.

What does the evidence suggest?

Numerous studies cite the damaging effects of high heeled footwear on the low back. A study carried out to examine the effects of high heels on the erector spinae muscle activity (the major muscle of the back) in young and middle aged women confirms this. Analysis revealed increased muscle work in women wearing 10 cm heels as compared to those who wore flats or 4 cm heels. Excess muscle activity results in early fatigue and consequently inceases the risk of pain. Younger women in this study also reported increased pelvic movement which also contributes to low back pain.

Another study assessed the relation between back and hip extensor muscles activation timing during forward bending tasks. It was found that wearing 10cm heels affected the normal muscle activation patterns during forward bending activities leading to abnormal spinal loading. This puts the entire spine at risk. The risk was lower with lesser height heels.

Wearing high heels for long hours also increases the arch of the low back. This puts stress on the facet joints (intervertebral joints) which contributes to back pain. Chiropractors and physiotherapists have come across female patients complaining of pain in the buttocks sometimes radiating to back of thigh (piriformis syndrome) as a result of high heels.

Affects Foot, Ankle and Knee too!

The literature also reveals that wearing high heels puts undesirable stress on the knees and may compromise ankle stability resulting in recurring ankle sprains. The ankle foot complex is structured to bear our entire body weight and absorb shock while walking. A flexible calf and achilles tendon is vital for this ankle foot movement but donning those high heels causes the achilles tendon to tighten and sabotages this subtle ankle foot biomechanics.

Wearing high heels can also give rise to imbalance between the anterior muscles of the leg and the calf muscles causing the former to work more resulting in forefoot deformities such as hammer toes, claw toes, hallux valgus etc.

In addition high heels also disturb the normal 50-50 weight distribution between the forefoot and heel. While standing on high heels, more weight is borne on the forefoot as compared to the heel which increases pressure on the balls of the foot, eventually leading to painful conditions like metatarsalgia, neuritis, bunions etc. Another problem with wearing high heels is shortening of the plantar fascia present on the underside of the foot. This makes it difficult to wear flat shoes as the fascia pains while stretching.

Solution to the Footwear problem

Investing in a good pair of shoes is important for a healthy back and body as a whole.

A few tips to keep in mind to avoid footwear related back pain:

  • Keep them short: Chose everyday sandals with heels not more than 2.5 inches.
  • Wider the better: Go easy on the back and select platform or wedge heels over stilettos. Shoes with a wider toe box are better than the pointy ones as they avoid forefoot compression.
  • Comfort is the key: Choose well-fitting shoes score over stylish ones as they are more comfortable. Go for footwear that has straps for proper support and soft insoles.
  • Haste makes waste: Take your time while purchasing a new pair of shoes. Wear them and walk around to see if they are the right pair. Do not hurry!
  • Lesser the better: If you absolutely need to wear heels more than 2.5 inches, make sure you wear them for a shorter time period.
  • Stretch out: Make sure you sit and take off your shoes to stretch your calf and plantar fascia from time to time while at work.
  • Keep a change: Always keep a pair of flat shoes with you when you need to walk long distances. Walking long distances in heels is certainly not comfortable.
  • Flat at home: Pamper your feet at home and move around in flats.


Just as a good base makes for a stronger building, comfortable shoes make for a healthy spine. However if a change of footwear doesn’t resolve your pain, you should always consult a Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor early for a speedy recovery.

This blog is brought to you by Naas Physio Clinic.

For more information contact the Physio Clinic on (045) 874682
or email us at info@physioclinic.ie

read more about back pain at: www.physioclinic.ie/conditions/back-pain/