March 24, 2010
60 Minutes Exercise Per Day To Avoid Weight Gain

60 minutes per day of moderate exercise such as walking is enough to keep the weight off of most women.

Normal-weight women need 60 minutes a day of moderate exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight, researchers said.

Those who exercised fewer than 420 minutes a week gained significantly more weight than those who met this target, I-Min Lee, MBBS, ScD, of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported in the March 24/31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the heaviest women, however, there was no relationship between exercise and weight gain.

1 hour is a lot of time per day. But the researchers say 30 minutes per day of intense exercise will do the trick too.

One hour per day too long? High intensity interval training is also worth consideration.

The usual excuse of "lack of time" for not doing enough exercise is blown away by new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

The study, from scientists at Canada's McMaster University, adds to the growing evidence for the benefits of short term high-intensity interval training (HIT) as a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long term exercise. Astonishingly, it is possible to get more by doing less!

"We have shown that interval training does not have to be 'all out' in order to be effective," says Professor Martin Gibala. "Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously."

This study only looked at muscle effects from the training. So it isn't clear whether it would work as well against weight gain. But it delivers benefits to muscles similar to that of 43 minutes of moderate bicycling per day.

To achieve the study's equivalent results by endurance training you'd need to complete over 10 hours of continuous moderate bicycling exercise over a two-week period.

You need to get your heart up to 95% of max heart rate with the short term high-intensity interval training.

Previous research by the McMaster group involved 30 seconds of maximal pedaling on a special bike followed by four minutes of recovery, and repeated 4-6 times. The new study involves eight to 12 one-minute bouts of exercise on a standard stationary bicycle at a relatively lower intensity with rest intervals of 75 seconds, for a total of 20-25 minutes per session. The workload was still above most people's comfort zone —about 95% of maximal heart rate — but only about half of what can be achieved when people sprint at an all-out pace.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 March 24 12:08 AM  Aging Diet Weight Studies

Mthson said at March 24, 2010 12:40 AM:

If I recall correctly, another article covering the '60 minutes per day' study stated that these study participants weren't dieting, which maybe means they're eating a normal high carb diet with oversized portions, rather than a plant-based diet.

paul said at March 24, 2010 6:59 AM:

OK, exercise an hour a day, moderately, may make a little sense I guess, but in light of recent studies (even this past weekend), to much heavy duty cardio, eg.marathon training seems to cause/correlate to coronary heart disease. I think the main issue is food intake, and not just the amount of calories, but quality of food. If you're eating more than 2 meals a week at a restaurant, or if you buy food at the supermarket and this food comes in a box, can, jar, bag, or other type of container, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. Between chemicals, sodium, MSG and it's derivatives,sugar and corn syrup and finally,an over abundance of carbohydates, it won't matter if you exercise 2 hours a day. I'll bet if you're able to eat real, fresh, food that does not come in some sort of container, weight will not be an issue, whether you excercise or not (for most people, anyway).

random said at March 24, 2010 8:42 AM:

Exercise is great for your health and well-being. I exercise at least 5 times a week because it makes me feel healthy and happy. Unfortunately, the only times I've been successful at losing any significant amount of weight I've been fairly sedentary. This may not be true for everyone, but exercise makes me hungry as hell, so I end up eating more and breaking even on calories. 8-10 hours of sleep a day and avoiding sweets (including artificial sweeteners) was far more effective at helping me lose weight. Sweets and even natural foods with lots of sugars (fruit, baby carrots) can cause a swing in blood sugar that will make you even hungrier.

Jim said at March 24, 2010 12:15 PM:

Here's the deal folks. All these numbers are simply more confusing and annoying than they are worth.

The general HIT program just requires some high intensity with cool down (nothing you need a science degree to do).

5 min:
First you start with a general warm-up, slow jogging for 5 minutes, or whatever you feel comfortable in doing to increase your blood flow and heart rate a bit.

2 min:
Next, for one minute, do something high intensity. Bike or elliptical is good to start, then take a full minute walkabout break (get your heartbeat down some).

Repeat x 10.
Each of your 1 minutes after the first couple workit-work-it/cooldowns can be a variety of exercises, like pullups-situps-pushups during the 1 minute period.
Get crazy. This doesn't have to be boring.

5 min:
All done, now get on the floor and do some nice limbering stretches, yoga, etc.

2 weeks into this and you'll be puuumpt.

For the first week, if you haven't exercised in a while, do it at 50% effort. By the second your muscles will be ready for some man-cizing.

Getting your Spartacus-on in no time!


PacRim Jim said at March 24, 2010 12:50 PM:

I would be careful about advising older readers to get their heart rate up to 95% of their max. heart rate.

Mike said at March 24, 2010 1:10 PM:

One hour a day is a small amount of time compared to TV watching and web surfing.

I walk an hour each day. No iPod. Just me, my dog, and my thoughts.

A daily walk has benefits well beyond body composition.

PacRim Jim said at March 24, 2010 9:35 PM:

One hint, when a person gets too little sleep or is thirsty, the human body sometimes prompts for more food. You'll find yourself overeating when all your really needed was enough sleep or a big drink of water.

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