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Exercise less and lose more weight

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
30 minutes of exercise better than an hour, finds study

What if you were told you could exercise for just 30 minutes a day and lose more weight than someone who works out for 60 minutes a day? New findings show a 30-minute concentrated workout that’s vigorous enough to produce a sweat is all you need to get to your target weight.

The scientists for the study say there are several reasons why working out less may be better than more in findings that they say were somewhat of a surprise.

The results are exciting for anyone who finds it difficult to find enough time to exercise. A 30 minute workout was so easy to accomplish for men who took part in the study that researchers say participants had the desire and enough energy left over to burn calories even when they weren’t training.

According to the researchers, men who took part in the study lost more weight than they should have relative to the 30 minute exercise routine they were given. Men who exercised more actually lost too little weight considering how many calories they burned in 60 minutes.

Mads Rosenkilde, PhD student, Department of Biomedical Sciences at Copenhagen University suspects part of the reason weight loss wasn’t much different between two groups studied is because working out longer leads to increased food consumption.

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For their study researchers followed overweight but healthy men. One group was asked to exercise for 60 minutes a day wearing a heart rate monitor and calorie counter. The other group exercised for 30 minutes to produce a light sweat, Rosenkilde explains they were asked to train more vigorously 3 times a week.

Men who exercised less lost an average of 7 pounds in 3 months compared to 5 pounds of weight loss among the men who worked out for an hour a day.

The study, according to Rosenkilde is unique because it targeted a group of men who are often overlooked: men who are healthy and moderately overweight. In Denmark, that’s 40% of the male population.

The researchers are exploring exercise as a means of transport. Rosenkilde says he’s working on finding ways to get people to exercise on their way to work, which is ‘half the battle’.

The men were taking part in the FINE project – a Danish acronym for Physical Activity for a Long Healthy Life. The findings have just been published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, showing exercising 30 minutes a day is just as effective for weight loss as working out 60 minutes a day.

Journal of Applied Physiology
doi: 10.​1152/​ajpregu.​00141.​2012
"Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response to different doses of aerobic exercise - a randomized controlled trial in overweight sedentary males"
Mads Rosenkilde, et al.
August 1, 2012

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