Your female clients who are trying to lose weight—and keep it off—can benefit as much from moderate physical activity as from an intense workout, according to a new study published in the September 10, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study involved 201 overweight but otherwise healthy women ages 21 to 45. All received reduced-calorie meals and were randomly assigned to one of four physical activity regimens, which varied in intensity and duration. The regimens consisted of moderate- or vigorous-intensity walking for a short or longer duration (2 to 3 hours per week or 3 to 5 hours per week) and expended about 1,000 to 2,000 calories each week.
The results? Women in all four groups lost a significant amount of weight—about 13 to 20 pounds—and maintained their weight loss for a year. During the yearlong study, the women also improved their cardiorespiratory fitness. The amount of weight loss and fitness improvement did not differ among the four groups.