Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Study: Obese Need To Exercise Twice As Long

Dr. John Jakicic says obese people need to exercise 300 minutes a week

This Fox News story reports on even more news from the North American Association for the Study of Obesity conference in Vancouver, Canada this week. The subject of the column is on that most dreaded of all words in the English language for most Americans -- EXERCISE!

Lead researcher Dr. John Jakicic, professor of health and physical activity at the University of Pittsburgh, found that five hours of exercise per week can help overweight and obese people shed the excess weight they need to provided they also cut down on their fat and calories.

The study observed 200 obese women with a median age of 37 years old and a body mass index of 32 over 24 months to what effect various exercise routines would have on their weight loss.

The women were split into four groups: moderate amount/moderate intensity, moderate amount/vigorous intensity, longer amount/moderate intensity, and longer amount/vigorous intensity.

Those who exercised a moderate amount generally burned 1,000 calories per week while the longer amounts of exercise burned twice as much at 2,000 calories per week.

Simultaneously, the women in the study were told to restrict their intake of both calories and fat, which translated to 1,200-1,500 calories per day and fat only comprising 20-30% of those calories.

After two years, only 18 women dropped out of the study.

The results of the study found that all four categories lost a "significant amount of weight." However, the groups that exercised longer, or 4.5-5 hours a week, lost more weight.

Body fat percentage lost was the best in the longer amount/vigorous intensity (7.2 percent) as would be expected, followed by longer amount/moderate intensity (6.5 percent), moderate amount/moderate intensity (4.9 percent), and moderate amount/vigorous intensity (3.7 percent).

Isn't it interesting that a moderate amount of vigorous intensity exercise is the worst way to burn fat according to this study's results? This new research kind of flies in the face of this recommended method of exercise for weight loss proposed by a Canadian researcher in June 2005.

Dr. Jakicic said that while the Centers for Disease Control recommends the average American get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week to maintain their weight, this is not nearly enough for people who need to lose weight.

“Clearly, overweight individuals have different exercise needs than the general public when it comes to increasing their energy expenditure [or calories burned],” Dr. Jackicic explained. “To maximize weight loss and minimize weight regain, it appears that overweight individuals should supplement dietary changes with approximately 300 minutes of exercise each week, which is twice the amount recommended for health in the general public."

Yep, he said to DOUBLE it! One HOUR a day for five days a week. 18,000 seconds that tick-tock, tick-tock by each and every week, month by month, every single year. Wowsers! That's quite a challenge for many who have never even stepped foot in a gym in their life!

While Dr. Jakicic and his team of researchers are still trying to figure out what is the most feasible way to get people who need to lose weight up to that 300 minutes in a week, let me share my own experience exercising for the first time in my life over this past year and a half.

When I first started exercising, I was still very close to 400 pounds. I have to tell you my body was not ready for the rigors of geting on a treadmill every single day, but that's exactly what I made myself do. You'll have to read my book to find out about some of my early experiences working out for the first time ever. It wasn't always pretty, but I made it slowly but surely up to the more than 300 minutes of exercise per week that I enjoy now as a weight loss maintainer.

Did I get to 300 minutes each week right away? Heck no! I bet I only did about 20 minutes of very light exercise at first because that's all I was conditioned to do. I took it slowly and went at a pace that was comfortable enough for me until I could go to the next level. Higher speeds, more resisitance, changing equipment kept me getting stronger and stronger while my enjoyment level soared as well. Now I couldn't think of going through a day without exercise. That's a miracle that can happen for you if you are livin' la vida low-carb and exercise is a must as part of your weight loss plan.

Speaking of low-carb, it has found to be an excellent partner to your exercise routine for burning fat and building muscle. The recommendation by Dr. Jakicic to limit your fat and calories is unnecessary when you are wanting to lose weight. While his study proves that you can lose weight on a low-fat/low-calorie diet combined with exercise, I would be interested in knowing how much body fat would be burned by study participants who followed a low-carb program on the various levels of exercise used in the study. I would venture to say the fat-burning numbers across the board for low-carb dieters would be higher.

With a recent study that found people only need to exercise 30 minutes per day to keep their heart healthy and to be fit, that's a good starting point for people who don't get any exercise now. Do it not only to lose weight, but to get healthy. You deserve to be the healthy, vibrant person God intended you to be. Make it happen for yourself and put aside all the excuses. JUST DO IT! :)

You can e-mail Dr. John Jakicic about his study at


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