The Long and Short of It

19 September, 2012

Long walks may be best for someone more fit, but shorter strolls -- about 30 minutes 5 days a week -- could be all you need in the first 3 months of a walking program to achieve the weight-loss benefit you seek. Once you're feeling stronger, and the walking is easier, add minutes and intensity to reach your next goal. That'll give your inner voice something to cheer about.

In a 12-week study of significantly overweight women, those who walked for 30 minutes 5 days per week lost weight at a rate similar to that of women who walked for 60 minutes 5 days per week. Researchers speculate that greater health benefits from longer walks probably start to kick in after 12 weeks. Your weight and fitness level will likely determine how your body responds to exercise programs of varying degrees of intensity and duration.

SOURCES: Dose-response effect of walking exercise on weight loss. How much is enough? Bond Brill, J., Perry, A. C., Parker, L., Robinson, A., Burnett, K., International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2002 Nov;26(11):1484-1493.

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