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How Much Exercise to Lose Weight?

A study from the University of Texas shows that for exercise to help you lose weight, you have to exercise intensely, consistently and often.

A group of men and women from the ages of 16 to 65 exercised 3 times a week on a stationary bicycle, working up to fairly intense 50 minute sessions for 20 weeks. They lost a few pounds, but that is not enough to help a fat person become thin. This is astounding because most studies show that intense exercise raises metabolism and helps people to lose a lot of weight.

To use exercise as your only source for weight loss, you have to exercise intensely enough to raise your body temperature, causing you to burn more calories for up to 18 hours and you need to do it at least five times a week. Swimming won't help most people to lose weight because they do it in water which conducts heat away from the body so efficiently that it prevents your body temperature from rising. Exercising on land at a pace that doesn't increase your rate and depth of breathing also limits your chances of losing weight.

1)H Wilmore, JP Despres, PR Stanforth, S Mandel, T Rice, J Gagnon, AS Leon, DC Rao, JS Skinner, C Bouchard.Alterations in body weight and composition consequent to 20 wk of endurance training: the HERITAGE Family Study.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999, Vol 70, Iss 3, pp 346-352.

2) GG Blix, AG Blix. The Role of Exercise in Weight Loss. Behavioral Medicine 21: 1 (SPR 1995):31-39.

Checked 11/11/14

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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