Walking to Lose Weight: Miles Less Important than Intensity

For exercise to help you control weight, you must exercise fairly intensely or else you need to exercise for many hours, and most people do not have the time to exercise for three or four hours or more every day. A study from the University of Massachusetts in Boston shows that middle-aged women who exercise at very low intensity are fatter and gain weight far more easily than women who exercise more intensely. Journal reference

This is what you would expect. When you exercise intensely enough to raise a sweat, you can increase your metabolism and continue to burn extra calories for several hours after you stop exercising. When you exercise at very low intensity, you do not increase your metabolism and you have to exercise for a very long time to burn a significant number of calories. If walking is your exercise choice for weight loss, walk vigorously enough to sweat and breathe hard.

People who want to use exercise to control weight should first check with their doctors. They should pick an activity that they can do regularly and try to do it every day. On some days, they should try to exercise more intensely, feel sore on the next day, go at low intensity for as many day as it takes for the soreness to go away and then exercise intensely again. People are more likely to stick with an exercise program if they do it with a spouse, a good friend or a personal trainer, or in a social setting such as a class or club. More


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