I’ve always said diet is more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight, and now there may be research backing that idea up. A new study out of Denmark suggests that exercising for just 30 minutes a day is adequate when trying to lose weight, and any more time spent in the gym may be wasted effort.
To conduct the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen studied 60 overweight Danish men who had previously lived sedentary lifestyles. One-third of the group was assigned to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day at an intensity level high enough to produce a light sweat. Another one-third of the group was told to do 60 minutes of aerobic exercise daily. And the last group was ordered to remain inactive.
Throughout the 13-week study, participants in the two exercise groups wore heart-rate monitors and calorie counters while working out. At the end of the study, the men who exercised for just 30 minutes a day lost an average of nearly 8 pounds, and those who exercised for an entire hour lost only 6 pounds. Both groups, however, saw a fat mass reduction of about 9 pounds.
The group that exercised for one hour burned twice as may calories on average as the 30-minute group, but ended up losing less weight in the end. Researchers were surprised to find that the 30-minute group burned more calories than expected based on the exercise regimen put in place for them.
In response to the findings,researchers proposed that the 30-minute exercise group might have viewed their training schedule as less demanding and had the desire and energy for more activity after their workouts were complete. Additionally, participants in the 1-hour exercise group likely consumed more calories, which explains why they didn’t lose as much weight as those who exercised less.
As reported My Health News Daily, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week to maintain health. Vigorous exercise might be intense weight lifting or a high intensity interval training session. Moderate exercise might be a light jog or a fast-paced walk – anything to get your heart rate up and cause you to sweat.