(NaturalNews) Women who rely on exercise to lose weight are destined to fail, so says a study that appears in the Journal of American Medical Association
. Researchers found that exercise alone was useful in maintaining the weight for women, but it had no effect on heavier women.
The study analysed almost 35,000 women over a period of 15 years. The scientists found that for women whose BMI was less than 25 kg/m2, there was a clear dose-response correlation between activity levels and weight gain. It took one hour's moderate-intensity exercise each day to avoid the gaining of weight. Exercise did not, however, reduce weight and did not even maintain weight among women with a BMI from 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 or in those with a BMI of 30.0 kg/m2 or more. This was true regardless of how much exercise the participants did, with both exercise and nutritional interventions required to successfully reduce weight.
"Among women consuming a usual diet, physical activity was associated with less weight gain only among women whose BMI was lower than 25," said the study authors. "Women successful in maintaining normal weight and gaining fewer than 2.3 kg over 13 years averaged approximately 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity throughout the study. These data suggest that the 2008 federal recommendation for 150 minutes per week, while clearly sufficient to lower the risks of chronic diseases, is insufficient for weight gain prevention absent caloric restriction."
The findings, while far from providing an answer to Western society's battle of the bulge, act as confirmation of what many observers have known for a long time: more sweat on the treadmill does not necessarily equate a smaller waistline. Conclusions that exercise has little effect on weight loss
are also premature, as the study did not make any distinction between aerobic exercise, which can inhibit weight loss through increased cortisol release, and resistance training, a preferred option for many personal trainers in improving body composition.
More than anything, the study backs the importance of a nutritional program in any efforts relating to bodyweight management. Women who wish to lose weight
should work smart by addressing their nutritional needs before adding exercise related to their goal. Working smart, it appears, is highly preferable to working hard.
Gettman, L. R., & Pollock, M. L. (1981). Circuit weight training: A critical review of its physiological benefits. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 9(1), 44-60.
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Marek Doyle is a London personal trainer
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