Want To Lose Weight And Keep It Off?
All It Takes Is Close To An Hour A Day
Women who want to lose
weight - and keep it off - need to be exercising for almost
an hour, five days a week, according to US experts.
The University of Pittsburgh study found the 55-minute regime
was the minimum needed to maintain a 10% drop in weight.
Only a quarter of the 200 women in the study managed to lose
A UK expert said it was clear that regular moderate exercise
was the way to lose weight, and keep it off.
Approximately two-thirds of adults in the UK are overweight
or obese, with some estimates suggesting this could rise to
nine in ten by 2050.
Research points to a combination of exercise and calorie control
as having the best chance of success in weight loss - although
the majority of people who attempt these diets fail to keep
the weight off.
The latest research, published in the Archives of Internal
Medicine journal, confirms that plenty of exercise is a key
ingredient of success.
The Pittsburgh researchers looked at a group of overweight
and obese women over a four year period.
They were all told to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories
a day, and split into four different exercise programmes, varying
the intensity and amount of exercise carried out.
After six months, women in all four groups had lost up to
10% of their body weight - but most could not keep this going.
The women who did maintain the 10% loss were those who reported
doing more exercise, on average 275 minutes per week.
In the UK, everyone is encouraged to manage at least 30 minutes
of moderate exercise five days a week, but scientists say that
people wanting to maintain weight loss need much more.
Professor Paul Gately, a specialist in exercise and obesity,
from Leeds Metropolitan University, said: "This study is excellent
- it's the best evidence that this higher level of exercise
"Thirty minutes a day is good for general health, but if you
want to lose weight, you need to be doing more, and if you want
to sustain weight loss, you need to be doing even more than
"In this country, between an hour and 90 minutes of exercise
a day is the recommended level for maintaining weight loss."
He said that "moderate" exercise covered anything that made
you slightly breathless, from brisk walking to gardening.
Some US researchers have been looking at novel ways to increase
the level of activity among those with "couch potato" lifestyles.
Dr James Levine is helping develop the "Walkstation", a computer
terminal with a treadmill instead of a chair.
Writing in the same journal, he said: "Sitting at one's desk
uses barely any more calories than staying in bed, but walking
at 1mph while working increases caloric expenditure by approximately
125 calories an hour."