Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Good news re: exercise

with 4 comments

Even a little helps. Bill Henrick at WebMD:

While frequent exercise is known to fight obesity and improve mental health, as little as 30 minutes of physical activity one or two days a week can have benefits, according to the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

The Well-Being Index is based on nearly 288,000 phone interviews of people 18 and older. It shows the number of days a person exercises for at least 30 minutes is strongly connected with the likelihood of obesity:

  • Not exercising in a given week was associated with a 35% incidence of obesity. 
  • Exercising for 30 minutes, 1-2 days a week, was associated with a 28% incidence of obesity

However, the survey also showed that those who exercised every day were slightly more likely to be obese (20%) than those who say they exercised five or six days (19%).

Gallup-Healthways analyst Brett W. Pelham, author of the 2009 report, tells WebMD in an email that "exercising several days a week seems about as good, and arguably is better, than exercising every day, especially when you consider return on investment."

The survey also looked at the connection between the number of days of exercise and quality of life; it included questions to determine if people felt they were struggling, suffering, or thriving in life. As little as a half-hour daily of exercise for one or two days seemed to help their self-perceptions.

People who exercised more frequently had …

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Written by Leisureguy

6 November 2009 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Daily life

4 Responses

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  1. I’ve read a lot of things indicating that exercise doesn’t really help you lose weight. They say it’s really about taking in fewer calories. There’s a lot of good reasons to exercise regularly, but despite what people commonly believe, getting thin isn’t one of them.


    6 November 2009 at 1:29 pm

  2. While it’s true that exercise alone will not result in weight loss, it’s pretty clear that exercise is necessary for cardiovascular health. And, apparently, exercisers are less apt to be obese than non-exercisers—not necessarily from burning calories but probably from avoiding things that build fat (lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits).


    6 November 2009 at 4:17 pm

  3. While exercise won’t help you lose weight — it is a balance of calorie input/output — it is one of the strongest indicators of whether you will keep the weight off or regain it. Cf: NYT’s article on why exercise does not lead to weight loss ( which ends “Finally and thankfully, exercise seems to aid, physiologically, in the battle to keep off body fat once it has been, through resolute calorie reduction, chiseled away. In other work by Melanson’s group, published in September, laboratory rats that had been overfed and then slimmed through calorie reduction were able to “defend” their lower weight more effectively if they ran on a treadmill and ate at will than if they had no access to a treadmill. The exercise seemed to reset certain metabolic pathways within the rats, Melanson says, that blunted their body’s drive to replace the lost fat. Similar mechanisms, he adds, probably operate within the bodies of humans, providing scientific justification for signing up for that Thanksgiving Day 5K.”


    6 November 2009 at 4:46 pm

  4. There’s also the matter of attitude and confidence: successfully exercising produces a feeling of accomplishment and a belief that one can accomplish other things (like losing fat).


    6 November 2009 at 5:38 pm

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