It takes less time than you think

How long should you workout each day to see results?

If you had to guess, do you think an overweight adult would lose more weight by exercising 30 minutes a day or an hour a day?

Common sense would tell you that the longer you work out, the more weight you lose. A new study, however, has shown that this may not be the case. The study’s results show that just half an hour of exercise a day may be just as effective—if not more so than a whole hour of exercise each day.

If you’re overweight and are seeking to lose weight through diet and exercise, keep reading. You might just save yourself a lot of time and lose yourself a lot of weight.

When 60 overweight men were followed for three months as they sought to lose weight, researchers were surprised at their findings. During the study, 20 of the men performed moderate aerobic exercise each day for half an hour, 20 underwent a high-intensity exercise routines that included activities such as cycling or running for an entire hour each day, and another 20 men remained sedentary. The men all wore calorie counters and heart rate monitors.

What did this study show? After 13 weeks, the overweight men who did 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day lost, on average, eight lbs.

Those men who did high-intensity exercise for an hour only lost an average of six lbs.

Baffling results to say the least. Somehow those who exercised for less time burned more calories than would be expected for the type and amount of exercise they performed. The men who exercised longer and more vigorously lost less weight than expected for the number of calories they burned.

Why would this be the case? There are two theories. One possible explanation may be that the men who only exercised for half an hour had more desire and energy to do more physical activity throughout the rest of the day.

A second possible explanation could be that the men who exercised for longer periods of time were hungrier during the day since their bodies required more energy. They may have compensated by eating calories that countered the calories they burned.

Interesting as this research may be, these are the findings of just one study. Other studies show different results. Obviously, more research is needed in this area, and you may not want to change your routine just yet.

But remember that each person loses weight at a different rate. To stay healthy and maintain your weight, aim to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week. Then remain active during the rest of the day.

The best exercise to help you lose weight is whatever exercise you’ll actually do on a regular basis. If your main method of exercise is running and you hate to run, then you probably won’t have much luck sticking with it.

If strength training is your exercise of choice, know that you burn more calories during cardio exercise, but they are both part of a well-balanced exercise routine. Also take comfort knowing that by adding extra muscle, you’ll be burning more calories when you’re not working out.

You may need to experiment to find what weight loss strategy gives you the results you desire. A personal trainer can help you determine how much exercise you need and what types of exercises are best for you to reach and maintain your weight loss goal.

Always remember that your goal is attainable! Whether you exercise 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours a day, you can reach your goal.

There are 24 hours in a day, 168 in a week, and 61,320 in a year. How many are you spending in the gym?

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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