Friday, August 8, 2008

Less Than an Hour a Day Needed to Maintain Weight Loss

     Several weight-loss blogs have covered a recent study about exercise and weight loss. The subject has been researched at length, but there was still debate about the amount of exercise required to maintain weight loss.
     The study followed the weight loss efforts of 201 overweight and obese women for over three years and found that the women who were able to maintain the most weight loss (10% of their body weight) exercised more than the women who didn't.
     Have you seen the study? I've noticed that Diet-Blog claims the study found an hour a day was needed. LA Times and BBC News both covered the story as well, with headlines announcing the need for an hour of exercise a day. Although they both clarified an hour a day was only needed five days a week in their stories, I just wanted to point out that this is not the only solution. The study actually found that the women exercised about 275 minutes a week, equal to 39 minutes a day. Even assuming the women formally exercised 5 days a week, we shouldn't assume they got no exercise at all over the weekend. 
     For college students' lifestyles,  it may be preferable to exercise 40 minutes every day than an hour 5 days a week. Since each day's schedule can be so different, it might even be more convenient to work out only 20 minutes one day and an hour the next.  An hour a day isn't our only choice.
     Keep in mind that "exercise" can be short walks during the day as well. Walking to class has been the best weight-maintenance trick of my college career. 
     The news stories also haven't been publicizing the fact that the "biggest losers'' in the study also ate less than the less successful dieters.
     Basically, this study confirmed what we knew all along. Exercise and eat less to lose weight. But still, 39 minutes a day doesn't sound so bad, does it?

Photo by mikebaird

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