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Redoubling Your Efforts: Researchers: For Weight Loss to Stay Lost, Obese Must Go the Extra Mile (Literally)

Exercise If you’re obese and have committed to exercise, give yourself a hand. Exercise is not an easy thing to commit to and you should be proud of yourself for the proactive ‘steps’ (pardon the pun) you’ve taken to get your weight down. Hopefully, your commitments have borne fruit relatively quickly, dropping pounds of weight and feeling better than ever. But it may be the case that
after initially losing weight, you’ve gained a lot of it back. In fact, it may be that just as fast as you’ve lost weight, you’ve gained it all back – even faster than you lost it.

Rest assured, this is not uncommon. The reasons for this quick regain of weight are manifold. Perhaps you’ve underestimated the amount of exercise you’ve done and are eating more than you are burning. Or perhaps you’re not eating the right types of foods.  But a recent study suggests that the answer may lie in the amount of exercise you’re doing – which is to say not enough.

I know the thought of doing more exercise hurts, but hear me out, because the benefits of doing more will show. According to a study done by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, current guidelines calling on the obese to get two and a half hours of exercise per week  might be a lowball figure if one not only wants to take it off but keep it off.

To determine how much more exercise it takes, researchers enlisted approximately 200 obese women and assigned each woman to one of four exercise groups. Each of the groups followed their own respective exercise regimens for four years and the researchers followed the groups’ progress, extending from 1999 to 2003.

A promising finding was that all of the women involved lost weight – as much as 10 percent of their weight in most instances, in fact. What wasn’t so promising was that most of these same women gained the weight they’d lost back…except for a select few women who were assigned to exercise in a manner different from the others.

What were they asked to do differently? Simply exercise longer – an hour longer to be precise. Now, you might be thinking that these women must have picked the short end of the stick when the researchers were deciding who would have to exert more energy over the four-year period. Maybe they did pick the short end, but their extra efforts paid off, as the women who exercised 60 minutes longer were the only ones who did not gain the weight they’d lost back. 

True the women who didn’t gain the weight they’d lost back may be due to the fact that they also ate healthier, but the fact that they ate healthier is probably explained by their not wanting to abandon all their hard work by eating unhealthily. That alone is a motivating factor to exercise longer (just as we tend to be more careful with those things we spend a lot of money or time on, we tend also to be more careful with the things we eat when we spend a lot of time and energy exercising). 

Keeping the weight off is not the only reason to “kick it up a notch” when exercising. In a related study, among those with diabetes, it was found that an extra 45 minutes of exercise helped muscles better store the calories and sugar consumed from food, thus the body burned fuel more efficiently, thus blood sugar levels were kept in control for longer periods of time.

So, how much extra time should be spent exercising per week? Researchers say exercise should be nearly double the current recommendation – from 2 ½ hours per week to 4 ½ hours per week.

Now, I know this sounds like a lot, but if you’re currently walking for 30 minutes a day, five days per week, try and walk an extra 25 minutes per day. If 25 minutes per day is too much to start with, work your way up, going an extra minute per day until you reach that extra 25 minutes.

I can assure you – just as the researchers’ findings suggest – doubling your efforts will triple the amount of satisfaction you get out of yourself and out of life.

Related Posts

  1. Researchers Say Artificial Sweetener Saccharin Contributes to Weight Gain
  2. Lose Weight by Eating More?
  3. Study: Among Obese, Cancer Risk Increases
  4. Vitamin D Significantly Lowers Cancer Risk, Researchers Conclude
  5. More Broccoli, Please: An Extra Helping or Two May Prevent Prostate Cancer, Study Finds
  


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