Duke University study finds that a walk every day keeps the pounds away.
Duke University Medical Center researchers found that as little as 30 minutes of walking daily is enough to prevent weight gain for most sedentary people. Exertion above that may actually cause weight and fat loss.
The researchers enrolled 182 over- weight and inactive adults, ages 40 to 65. The subjects were assigned randomly to one of three programs of escalating levels of exercise for eight months or to a control group involving no exercise for the same time period. Participants were encouraged not to change their normal diet.
Exercise routines went from a low- dose, moderate intensity that was equivalent to 12 miles of walking per week; low-dose, vigorous intensity (equivalent to 12 miles of jogging a week); or high-dose, vigorous intensity equal to 20 miles of jogging a week. The exercise was done on treadmills, elliptical trainers or stationary cycles in supervised settings. 120 people completed the study.
The control group of people who performed no exercise gained weight over the period of the trial. The high-dose, vigorous exercise group experienced a 3.5 percent weight loss, while the two low-dose groups experienced slightly above a 1 percent weight loss, and the control group a 1.1 percent gain.
In other words, the two low-exercise groups lost both weight and fat, while those in the more intensive group lost more of each in a 'dose-response' manner. The more you exercise, the more you benefit.
The two groups that did more-vigorous exercise had similar increases in lean body (muscle) mass, about 1.4 percent, twice as great as in the low-intensity group. All exercise groups had decreases in the mass of body fat. The decrease ranged from 2 percent in the low-dose group to almost 5 percent in the high-dose, high- intensity exercise group.
The researchers concluded that the amount of exercise determines total body weight change and fat mass loss, while exercise intensity would appear to be the primary factor in gaining lean body mass.
The study was published in the January 12, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, January 13, 2004
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