This is the time of year when many folks’ New Year’s resolutions include shedding a few (or a lot) of those excess pounds. A healthy, balanced diet with proper portion control is the place to start, of course. And starting an exercise program has tremendous health benefits, even beyond the waistline. New research suggests, though, that more is not necessarily better — even with something as healthy as physical activity.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark (1) explored the question of the effect of amount of exercise on weight loss. They looked at overweight sedentary men, dividing them into three groups:
- a control group (no exercise)
- moderate exercise (300 calories burned per day, or about 30 minutes of running or cycling)
- high exercise (600 calories burned, or about 60 minutes per day)
- Any exercise is better than none at all.
- If you are using a lower intensity exercise such as walking, it might take 45-60 minutes to hit that 300 calorie burn goal.
- Short bursts of high-intensity exercise have been shown to have greater metabolic benefit overall than prolonged sessions of more moderate intensity exercise: The improvement in insulin sensitivity can lead to better weight management with as little as 60 minutes per week. (2)
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