Deconditioned people who feel overwhelmed by the idea of starting an exercise and diet program can be confident that small steps do matter. A study finds that overweight, sedentary adults who are not dieting can stop future weight gain by participating in moderate exercise. The study, published in the January issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, included 120 overweight men and women between the ages of 40 and 65. The subjects, who were instructed not to diet during the 8-month program, were assigned to one of three exercise groups: high amount/vigorous intensity, low amount/vigorous intensity and low amount/moderate intensity.
Although the high-amount group lost the most weight and fat, the two low-amount groups also lost some of each. Without changes in diet, a higher amount of activity is necessary for weight maintenance; however, weight gain can be cut off at the pass with modest amounts of exercise. Most individuals can accomplish this by walking 30 minutes every day, the study recommends.