The common wisdom for weight loss and keeping healthy has been that 30 minutes of moderately intensive exercise a day is enough to help you begin to lose weight, coupled with a healthy diet. However according to new research led by John Jakicic at the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, conventional wisdom may not have been entirely accurate.
In a study published July 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Jakicic argues that more exercise is not only better than less, but that it is required to sustain any sort of constant weight lost. By the end of a two year program, that Jakicic and his colleagues monitored, it was found that to gain any sort of measurable and constant loss of weight, at least an hour of exercise per day was necessary.
The weight loss program took place over two years, and followed nearly 200 overweight or obese women aged between 21 and 45. Women were asked to keep their diet to a calorie intake of between 1,200 and 1,500 a day. By the end of the two years, those who were exercising 68 minutes a day, five days a week, managed to lose 10% of their starting body weight, and subsequently keep it off.
In fact, the keeping off of the weight is required on maintaining the exercise program that helped you lose the weight in the first place, Jakicic notes. "The major outcome of this paper is the maintenance issue," Jakicic said.
Researchers encountered a problem in their data gathering, when it was found that at the six month mark, many of the women were relapsing, and exercising just what they wanted. However the researchers were still able to gather valuable information from their reports, which allowed them to associate weight loss to exercise levels.
But there is still an underlying question that people are asking; are diet and exercise a reliable cure for obesity?
Many of those in obesity research believe that the body determines a “set point”, a weight range of about 10 lbs. to 20lbs. that the body attempts to stick too. When you push that boundary – either up or down – your body will more vigorously attempt to defend that set point.
However Jakicic is still pleased with the notion that an hour’s worth of exercise helps bring down weight even 10%, because even a loss of 10% helps in overall well-being, lowering of blood pressure, improving heart health and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. "The women's health was absolutely improved," Jakicic said.
By the end though, Jakicic is heartened by his findings. "I think the beauty of this study is that we now have a target.” And this backs up what a lot of people have said for a long time; regular substantial exercise and a good diet is a good way to stay healthy.
Posted by Josh Hill.
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