Moderate Exercise Better for Weight Loss
The obesity epidemic is a serious problem around the world, and public health efforts to turn back the tide are frustratingly ineffectual. It’s a complex problem, with no easy solutions. Most experts advise overweight patients to eat better and exercise more. This two-pronged approach is considered more effective than cutting calories alone.
But engaging in exercise is a huge stumbling block for many overweight or obese people. Some find that it boosts appetite, contributing to the problem. Others dislike committing to intense bouts of regular exercise, and have trouble continuing any exercise regimen once started.
Now a new study by Danish researchers suggests that it may be more effective to exercise only moderately, rather than intensively, to achieve weight and fitness goals. In essence, researchers discovered, 30 minutes of moderate exercise was BETTER than an hour of intense exercise for subjects; moderately overweight, but healthy, men who were motivated to improve their health and fitness levels.
Men who exercised, on average, just 30 minutes per day, reported feeling more energetic and more motivated to continue pursuing their fitness goals, than men who engaged in intensive, hour-long fitness sessions daily. Paradoxically, the moderate exercisers lost more weight, too. They also reported making additional lifestyle changes that could add up to significant improvements; things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking the dog more regularly. Intense exercisers, in contrast, reported feeling exhausted, demotivated, and less likely to make voluntary changes that would improve fitness further.
Gram AS, Bønnelycke J, Rosenkilde M, Reichkendler M, Auerbach P, Sjödin A, et al. Compliance with physical exercise: Using a multidisciplinary approach within a dose-dependent exercise study of moderately overweight men. Scand J Public Health. 2013 Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print]