Exercise and Weight Management

  • Persons concerned with losing weight and body fat should increase their level of physical activity. Physical activity of moderate intensity (i.e., 50-60% of maximal aerobic capacity), but longer duration (50-60 minutes per session) seems most efficacious towards this goal.

  • Physical activity affects body composition and weight favorably, by promoting fat loss, while preserving lean mass.

  • The rate of weight loss is positively related to the frequency and duration of the exercise session, as well as the duration of the exercise program. (Oscai 1973; Stefanick 1993; Thompson et al. 1982; Wilmore 1983; Ballor and Keesey 1991; Epstein and Wing 1980)

  • While the rate of weight loss resulting from increased physical activity is relatively slow, physical activity may nonetheless be a more effective strategy for long term weight regulation than dieting alone. (Brownell and Stunkard 1980; Kayman, Bruvold, Stern 1990)

  • Physical activity may have a favorable effect on fat distribution. (Seidell et al. 1991; Tremblay et al. 1990; Kaye et al. 1990; Slattery et al. 1992; Triosi et al. 1993; Wing et al. 1991)

  • A regular high-volume, low-intensity prolonged physical activity, such as purposeful walking for 10 to 60 minutes a day on almost a daily basis, can substantially increase energy expenditure, reducing body weight and fat. (Pi-Sunyer 1988; Leon 1989; Bouchard et al. 1993; DiPietro 1995; Ewbank et al. 1995)

  • Exercise primarily in the form of walking, along with restricted energy intake, can be expected to produce a substantially greater weight and fat loss and maintenance than either exercise or dietary energy restrictions alone. (Leon 1989; Bouchard et al. 1993; Food Technologist’s Expert Panel 1993; American College of Sports Medicine 1983)

Five Major Effects of Exercise in Reducing Weight and Fat

  1. Increases total daily energy expenditure

  2. Enhances body fat mobilization and maintenance of lean body mass

  3. Reduces upper body and abdominal visceral fat

  4. Increases rate and amount of fat metabolized

  5. Reduces the mortality rate in obese persons

Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease.

Physical activity and physical fitness are causally related to the risk of coronary heart disease.

  • Physically active people have an overall lower risk of fatal and nonfatal major coronary event. (Mittleman et al. 1993; Willich et al. 1993; Siscovich et al. 1985)

  • Physical inactivity is causally linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. (Powell et al. 1987; Blair 1994)

  • Exercise training along with cholesterol-lowering diet and other risk factor interventions help prevent the progression or reduce the severity of coronary atherosclerosis (the underlying basis of cardiovascular disease). (Ornish et al. 1990; Schuler et al. 1992; Hambrecht et al. 1993; Haskell et al. 1994)

  • Endurance trained men and women athletes generally have HDL-C (good cholesterol) levels 20-30% higher than healthy age matched sedentary individuals. (Leon 1991)

  • Overwhelming evidence from epidemiologic studies shows that a physically active lifestyle reduced risk of sudden cardiac death. (Leon et al. 1987)

  • Among the studies on non-occupational physical activity, inactivity was associated with a 60% increased risk of coronary heart disease mortality. (Berlin et al. 1990)

Exercise and Hypertension

  • Intervention studies have generally reported significant reductions in blood pressure following endurance training. (Fagard and Tipton, 1994; Fagard et al. 1990; American College of Sports Medicine 1993; Towner and Blumenthal 1993)

Exercise and Mood

On average, persons who are higher active are at two times lower risk for depressive symptoms.

  • Adults who spend more time participating in regular exercise, sports or other physical activities had fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than persons who reported no or low levels of participation in these same activities. (Ross and Hayes 1988)

  • Physical activity was associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as higher positive mood and general well-being, particularly in women and persons over 40. (Stephens 1988)

  • Persons reporting higher levels of daily leisure-time energy expenditure had higher positive mood than persons reporting lower levels of energy expenditure. (Stephens and Craig 1990)

  • Persons with few depressive symptoms who were low active in 1965 were at greater risk for having a high number of depressive symptoms in 1974. (Camach et al. 1991)

  • Persons obtaining no physical exercise were three times more likely to be depressed than people who were regular exercisers. (Weyerer 1992)

  • Low physical activity was a risk factor for developing depressive symptoms in women. (Farmer et al. 1988)

Exercise and Quality of Life

  • Persons whose physical function compromised by heart disease and arthritis experience improved daily function from involvement in various modes of physical activity. (Ewart 1989; Fisher et al. 1993)

Exercise and Musculoskeletal Conditions

  • Physical activity plays a substantial role in the development of bone mass during childhood and adolescence, and maintenance of skeletal mass as a young adult. (American College of Sports Medicine 1995; Slemenda, Johnson 1994; Rankin 1994; Star, Hochberg 1993; National Institutes of Health 1984; Lindsay 1994; Drinkwater 1994; Cummings et al. 1985; Gilligan et al. 1993; Martin, Houston 1987)

  • Greater bone mass strength with weight bearing activity during youth has been demonstrated in a number of animal species. (Martin, Houston 1987; Mazess, Wheldon 1983)

  • Epidemiological studies indicate that women who have been able to maintain higher levels of physical activity later in life have lower prevalence of hip fractures. (American College of Sports Medicine 1995)

Exercise and Cancer

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States behind only cardiovascular disease. It accounts for 540,00 deaths in 1994.

Colon Cancer

  • There are adequate data to suggest that physical inactivity is likely to be causally related to increased incidence of colon cancer. To reduce risk, one should exercise at moderate intensity; e.g., walking at 4 mph for 30 minutes, five times a week.

  • A significant inverse relation between occupational physical activity and colon cancer risk was found in 15 of 18 studies on the subject. (reviewed in: Lee 1994; Arbman et al. 1993;Chow et al. 1993; Dosmeci et al. 1993; Fraser et al. 1993)

Breast Cancer

  • Non-athletes had more than two-and-a-half times the risk of breast, ovarian, uterine, cervical and vaginal cancers than former college athletes. (Frisch et al. 1985)

  • Physical inactivity was associated with a 2.4 to 8.6-fold increase in risk of developing uterine cancer. (Levi et al. 1993)

  • Several studies have shown that exercise can alter the levels of reproductive hormone, potentially decreasing the risks of reproductive cancers. (Lee 1994)

Prostate Cancer

  • Several studies have shown that exercise can alter the levels of reproductive hormone, potentially decreasing risks of prostate cancer. (Lee 1994)

Exercise and Diabetes Mellitus

  • The largest and most consistent difference in risk of NIDDM (non- insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) occurs between those individuals who report relatively no activity and those who report doing something.

  • Women alumni who were former college athletes had a lower prevalence of diabetes than those who were non-athletes. (Frisch 1986)

  • A study of male alumni from University of Pennsylvania demonstrated that physical activity was inversely related to the incidence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), particularly in men at high risk for developing diabetes. (Helmrich 1991)

  • In a study of female registered nurses aged 34-59 years, women who reported engaging in vigorous exercise at least once a week had a lower incidence of self reported NIDDM during the eight years of follow up than women who did not exercise weekly. (Manson 1991)

  • Among women 55-69 years of age, who had high levels of physical activity were half as likely to develop diabetes mellitus as were women with low levels of physical activity. (Kaye et al. 1991)

  • Physical activity is likely to be the most beneficial in preventing the progression of NIDDM when used during the disease process. (Saltin 1979; Lindgarde 1983; Krotkiewski 1983; Trovati 1984; Schneider 1984; Ronnemaa 1986)

On a more casual note, “If I exercise today, I will be able to…”

  • Increase and maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

  • Improve mental acuity & make better decisions.

  • Reduce and prevent the risk of various cancers (including colon, breast, uterine), stroke, diabetes, heart attack, heart disease and arthritis.

  • Live a stress-free life.

  • Improve the overall quality of my life.

  • Become more agile and feel “lighter.”

  • Become happier, and have a better outlook.

  • Take anywhere from 5 to 10 years or more off my age, in terms of my appearance, and the way I feel.

  • Improve blood circulation and oxygen to my vital organs.

  • Eat the foods I love (in moderation) without gaining weight.

  • Experience a new sense of well-being.

  • Increase energy and endurance levels.

  • Live longer, healthfully.

  • Experience physical and mental rejuvenation.

  • Feel good about my body & improve my self esteem.

  • Attain permanent weight management.

  • Improve skin tone and color.

  • Smooth cellulite and improve skin texture.

  • Eliminate depression.

  • Strengthen, repair and boost immune function.

  • Lower blood pressure.

  • Improve vision and hearing.

  • Slow the aging process.

  • Improve sexual performance and restore libido.

  • Improve hair growth and luster.

  • Improve the quality of sleep.

  • Improve my overall general health

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