Well Being

Couch Potatoes Rejoice: You Don’t Need That Much Exercise To Lose Weight

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Sure, we all dread dragging ourselves out of bed to hit the gym from time to time. But for some of us, that dread never really goes away. If that's the case and you truly hate exercise, you'll love this new study that says you can get away with working out less–while losing more weight.

Published in the American Journal of Physiology, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have couch potatoes rejoicing after saying that working out for 30 minutes is just as effective for losing weight and staying fit as working out for 60 minutes. In fact, they say that working out for half the time could yield even more weight-loss benefits. OK, now we're talking.

In the study, researchers followed 60 overweight, yet healthy men for 13 weeks. Half of the participants exercised for 30 minutes a day while the other half exercised for 60 minutes a day. They were told to excise to a “light sweat” on a treadmill and increase the intensity three times a week. Their effort and activity was monitored with a heart-rate monitor and calorie counter.

By the end of the study, scientists discovered that, while the reduction in body mass was essentially the same for both groups, those who worked out for 30 minutes lost more weight than those who worked out twice as long.

Researcher and PhD student for the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Mads Rosenkilde, explained:

Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should relative to the training program we set for them. In fact we can see that exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat. The men who exercised the most lost too little relative to the energy they burned by running, biking or rowing. 30 minutes of concentrated exercise give equally good results on the scale.

In a world where we are conditioned to believe that more is more, this result is admittedly puzzling. How exactly can someone lose more weight when they only exercise half the time? Well, the scientists theorize that the 30-minute group had more desire and energy for their workouts because half an hour felt so doable to them. Meanwhile, the 60 minute group likely ate more and didn't feel the need to work out as hard. In other words, when you only have 30 minutes to exercise, you are likely to be more motivated and work harder, while also having more energy to stay active for the rest of the day.

We have to say, we kinda love this! Anything that helps to get more people feeling like exercise is doable and not so intimidating is good news in our books.

What do you think? Does this change the way you look at exercise?


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