Can Moderate Exercise Lead to Weight Loss?

We all have heard the “conventional wisdom” about the importance of exercise: if you engage in moderate exercise, like walking, for 30 minutes a day three or four times per week you can lose weight.  But is that true?

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on July 28, 2008 (here’s the link: Effect of Exercise on 24-Month Weight Loss Maintenance in Overweight Women) it was discovered that the more you exercise, the more weight you can lose.

In the study, 201 overweight and obese women aged 21 to 45 years old were told to reduce their caloric intake to 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, and they were split into four groups based on physical activity (from light activity up to vigorous intensity).

They discovered that individuals sustaining a weight loss of 10% or more of initial body weight at 24 months reported performing more physical activity (1835 kcal/wk or 275 min/wk) compared with those sustaining a weight loss of less than 10% of initial body weight.

The study concluded that the addition of about four and a half hours per week of vigorous physical activity, combined with a reduced calorie diet, is very important in allowing overweight women to sustain weight loss. The message is clear: if you want to lose weight, more exercise is better. Don’t just go for a leisurely walk three times a week, go for a brisk walk for 45 minutes to an hour six times a week, or add in other forms of physical activity to enhance weight loss.

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