Danish study reveals that exercising for a certain amount of time with proper form helps maximize weight loss.
A recent Danish study has found that you can increase weight loss if you exercise the right amount of time. Although this sounds encouraging to many readers, there were several points of contention with this study that have been made. Additionally, this study was only performed on a small group of younger males in their 20′s and 30′s.
About The Study
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen selected a group of 61 sedentary, moderately overweight men that were in their 20′s to early 30′s. They were randomly assigned into one of three different groups. All of the males were physically checked out before beginning the 13 week program.
The first group was a sedentary that had no changes to their diet or physical activity levels. The second group participated in 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. This included activities like jogging or biking. They could stop exercising if they burned 300 calories before reaching the 30 minute mark. The third group exercised for an hour per day or expending 600 calories, whichever came first.
All of the participants were instructed not to change their eating habits. Additionally, they were ordered to keep food journals which were also used in determining the resulting weight loss. Another major component in this study was that the researchers also measured how active the participants were in the hours leading up to and after exercise.
The sedentary group had the same amount of body fat as they did at the start of the program. They also weighed the same. These results were expected by the researchers. The unexpected results came with the second and third groups.
The 2nd group, the ones who exercised for 30 minutes per day, did better than what the scientists had expected. They averaged a weight loss of about 7 pounds each. This was roughly 83% more than what the scientists had expected based on the amount of calories consumed verses expended.
The 3rd group, the ones who exercised for 60 minutes per day, did lose some weight. They lost an average of 5 pounds each. However, this was about 20% less than the expectations based on the amount of calories they were consuming versus the amount of calories they expended.
Potential Reasons For The Findings
There seems to be a few tangible reasons why the results turned out the way they did. Mads Rosenkilde Ph.D, who led the study, shared her thoughts as to how the findings came to be:
The Third Group
- The group that exercised for 60 minutes per day, were found to have increased the size of their meals and perhaps ate more than they really documented.
- The 3rd group also were more sedentary the rest of the day due to their vigorous workouts.
The Second Group
- The group that only exercised roughly 30 minutes per day were more active throughout the day as they appeared more “energized”.
- They took stairs instead of elevators during the day.
- Their food journals seemed to be more credible.
Problems With The Study
Despite the study showing positive results for moderate exercise of overweight, young males, there are many issues that critics, and even the researchers, have pointed out.
- This study was only done on males of a younger age group, who were healthy other than being overweight. The results could be drastically different for women or even males of older age.
- This was a short term study and could be dramatically different if it were done over a year or longer.
- The 3rd group’s weight loss didn’t take into consideration of how much weight they put on due to gaining lean muscle. Therefore, they were getting in better shape due to an increase of muscle and a decrease of fat. However, this would offset the overall number of pounds lost.
- This study doesn’t factor in physical limitations that people may have like health conditions or injuries.
- This study doesn’t factor in overall fitness goals or motivating factors for weight loss.
Ultimately, unless you are a healthy male in your 20′s or early 30′s with a few pounds to lose, then this study is irrelevant. In fact, even for this demographic it’s still irrelevant because it doesn’t incorporate all of the factors that go into a weight loss program. And, the biggest factor of weight loss is your diet. Exercise is the second biggest factor and they do go hand in hand when trying to lose weight, prevent health issues, or remain in good health. The only thing this study proved was that you won’t lose weight if you are sedentary and maintain the same diet.