Shedding more pounds may be better achieved through a brisk walk through the park rather than a fast run exercise regime, points out a new study .
Weight loss is all about burning more calories than what is consumed. The effect of intensity of an exercise in producing the difference in body constitution is however not known clearly so far. In an attempt to seek an answer to this question, the researchers initiated a study in which 14 women were enrolled.
Although there is no such thing as magic exercise for losing weight, it has been found that who worked out at a moderate pace, faithfully adhering to the exercise regimen for a period of three months lost more weight than their counterparts who worked out more extensively.
The study participants were randomly assigned into either a low intensity exercise group or moderate intensity exercise group. The first group participants exercised on a treadmill, four times a week at a moderate pace while the other group was involved in a more intensive exercise, for the same duration.
Both the exercise regimes were scheduled in such a way that women would burn 370 calories, each time they worked out. At the end of three months, although women of both groups got trimmer, those on the low intensity exercise regime lost 3 pounds more compared to those in the other group who lost 4 pounds on an average. Furthermore, a slight decrease in the fat-free mass was noted in the low-intensity exercisers.
The above observation could be due to tendency of women in high intensity group to eat more or relax for a longer time as they were drained by their regimen. As a consequence of losing less weight, the women may have held on to more muscle.
The researchers however feel that it is wrong for runners to start slowing down as high intensity has its own benefits. Consistent with the above fact, women who performed high intensity exercises were found to retain more muscle mass than those involved with moderate to low intensity exercises.
The results of this study can be cited in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The take home message to reap the greatest health and fitness benefits, according to the authors is to indulge in a mix of vigorous and moderate cardiovascular disease, complemented by strength training.
The authors recommend use of a heart rate monitor or other simple pulse checks during the workout for those who wish to understand if they are working hard or moderately during the workout.