So you’ve lost some of those extra pounds you’ve been carrying around since you started college/your career/a family/addiction to reality TV… Congratulations! Now get on that treadmill.. for an hour! A new (and not terribly surprising) study has shown that it takes about an hour a day to maintain at least a 10% weight loss. I’ll breakdown the study and offer some opinions/advice.
Participants: 201 overweight or obese women (BMI 27-40) age 21-45
- Participants were assigned to 1 of 4 behavioral weight loss intervention groups
- Groups were randomly assigned to groups based on caloric expenditure (1000 vs. 2000 kcal/week) and intensity levels (moderate vs. vigorous).
Individuals sustaining a 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.
- This is consistent with other research on the subject and corresponds with the National Weight Loss Registry’s observations regarding physical activity.
- I don’t have access to the full study but if I did, I would see what kind of exercise people were assigned to and at what intensities they were working at.
- I would also like to see if the exercise intensities made a difference in overall weight loss
- Weight training doesn’t often appear to be prescribed in these kinds of studies, which is a shame as this would most likely make a difference in the results.
- It’s difficult to say whether or not exercise was the sole factor in the success of the best maintainers. Those who maintained above 10% losses also adhered to better eating habits and engaged in more regular phone contact with the intervention team.
Take Home Message
- Exercise is good
- It takes more exercise to maintain weight loss than it does to lose it in the first place.
- Try to engage in exercise daily, combining intentional exercise with lifestyle-based exercise (ie. walking more).
- Within your intentional exercise sessions, try and push the intensity a little. Try interval training.
- Resistance train. Try and partake in weight training at least twice per week and preferably 3.
- Don’t stress too much about clocking exactly an hour of exercise per day. Just fit as much in as you feel comfortable with. Remember you can bump up the intensity and you won’t have to do as much. You may have to build your way up to even 15 minutes of activity. That’s okay – one step at a time.
- Don’t have an extra hour a day? (You do, but that’s beside the point). Break it up into smaller chunks – it’s just as good.
- On the “you do have time” thing – 1 hour is only about 4% of your entire day. After working and sleeping, you still have about 8 hours to work with. Even with obligations, cooking, cleaning, etc. most people would still be able to get some activity in. If you truly feel you have no time, where can you make time?
- Don’t let complacency set in. Keep working at what you’ve achieved. Health is a lifelong process, not a destination.
Now stop reading this and do some wind sprints! (I’m timing you)