Contributed by Dr. David Geier, The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM)
Do you want to lose weight, but despite long sessions on the treadmill or elliptical trainer?
Most adults seem to fall into that category. Studies have shown that few Americans obtain at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity recommended in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Fortunately a new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that any physical activity – assuming it is fairly intense – can help people lose weight, even if only done for very short periods.
Intensity and duration of physical activity
Jessie X. Fan and others at the University of Utah compiled data on 2,202 women and 2,309 men aged 18 to 64 who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They grouped the physical activity of the subjects into four categories: higher-intensity sessions greater than 10 minutes, higher-intensity sessions less than 10 minutes, lower-intensity sessions greater than 10 minutes, and lower-intensity sessions less than 10 minutes.
Higher-intensity exercise was defined as greater than 2,020 counts per minute as measured by an accelerometer. Researchers pointed out that walking 3 miles per hour was equivalent to that level of intensity. However, all activities – like walking in a store, climbing stairs, and much more – counted as long as it met the intensity levels monitored by the accelerometer.