30 Minutes of Exercise May Not Be Enough
Losing weight and keeping
it off may require more exercise than previously thought - maybe
twice as much as the 30 minutes recommended, say researchers.
A study from Brown
University researchers found that 2,500 people who lost an average
60 pounds and kept it off for a year exercised about an hour a
“We know that 30 minutes
every day is a good thing—it’s better than less than that,”
said Dr. John Jakicic, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine
at Brown. “But after that what you want is somewhere between 30
and 60 minutes and where that is, we’re not sure.”
Dr. Rena Wing, a professor of
psychiatry and behavioral medicine at Brown, said most of the people studied
walked about 10 miles a week, then did aerobics, weight lifting or other
The researchers attended the
annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.
The study was based on data from the National Weight Control Registry, a
repository of information on how people lost weight based at the University
Gerald Mishoe, a 50-year-old
paralegal from Charleston who weighed 287 pounds but has lost almost 50
pounds after a heart attack in August, says he exercises almost 45 minutes a
Mishoe said that even after he was
stricken he was not sure about exercising. His regiment now includes
strenuous workouts three times a week at the Roper Hospital Cardiac
“Anybody who was my weight
thinks about the need to exercise. But I never found the time to do it until
I got a wake-up call,” he said. “I think someone who is just trying to
take off weight might be discouraged by an hour a day.”
Another study found that short
bouts of exercise during the day were as effective as one long period in
maintaining weight loss for women. It is important that people know they can
exercise a little bit at a time, Jakicic said.
“To send them a message they
have to do an hour a day is going to turn them off,” Jakacic said. “We
need to readjust that figure and find ways to get people to do a little
He said patients who kept the
weight off likely paid close attention to their diets as well.
“If you don’t adopt both
exercise and focus on the eating behaviors you won’t be successful long
term,” he said.