Less Is More With Exercise, Study Says

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Thirty minutes of daily exercise achieves the same amount of weight loss as 60 minutes, according to a small new study.

The research included 60 heavy but healthy Danish men who exercised for either 30 or 60 minutes a day while wearing a heart-rate monitor and calorie counter. The training sessions were designed to generate a light sweat, but the participants were expected to boost the intensity and push themselves harder three times a week.

The men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost an average of about 8 pounds over three months, compared with an average of 6 pounds for those who exercised 60 minutes a day.

"Participants exercising 30 minutes per day burned more calories than they should relative to the training program we set for them," Mads Rosenkilde, a doctoral student in the biomedical sciences department at the University of Copenhagen, said in a university news release. "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," Rosenkilde added. "Thirty minutes of concentrated exercise gives equally good results on the scale."

Rosenkilde suggested that the surprising results may be due to the fact that doing just 30 minutes of exercise left participants with the desire and energy to do more physical activity after their required exercise sessions.

In addition, it's likely that the men who did 60 minutes of exercise daily ate more and therefore lost slightly less weight than anticipated.

The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Physiology.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.

SOURCE: University of Copenhagen, news release, Aug. 23, 2012

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