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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Exercise Frequency Matters to Lose Body Fat

Do you need to lose body fat?  Exercising four or more times per week can help you to achieve this goal, according to a study published in the November 2009 issue of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.  Investigators evaluated the changes in body composition of 80 previously sedentary and deconditioned adults (ages 22-74 years) who began an exercise program based on the U.S. Surgeon General's guidelines to "exercise most days of the week."  The study was designed to specifically determine the role that frequency itself had on changing body composition.

The study lasted 8 weeks during which the subjects were instructed to exercise continuously for 30 minutes at a moderate-intensity (70% of their maximum heart rate), 4 times per week.  The participants exercised using either a 10-piece circuit training system or cardiovascular equipment.  Subjects were not prohibited from exercising more often than the prescribed amount.

The subjects' body composition values were determined before and after the study using a BodPod (air displacement plethysmography).  After completion of the study, the participants were divided into 4 categories based on their compliance to the frequency recommendation for exercise.  These categories included:
  • Control group - individuals who chose not to exercise (20 subjects)
  • Exercised less than 2 times per week (20 subjects)
  • Exercised 2-3 times per week (20 subjects)
  • Exercised 4 or more times per week (20 subjects)
With the exception of the control group (those who did no exercise), all groups lost body fat.  However, those subjects who exercised at least 4 times per week lost significantly more body fat than their counterparts (p=0.004).  The investigators conclude that the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendation to "exercise most days of the week" yields significant improvements in body composition for previously sedentary individuals.

Regular exercise is essential to improve overall health.  You can achieve favorable effects on body fat mass by following an exercise program that involves you to be physically active on at least four days per week.

Note:  Prior to beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of an existing one, seek the approval of your physician, especially if you are at risk for or currently have chronic health conditions.

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Nov:23(8):2377-80 "Frequency of Exercise for Body Fat Loss: A Controlled, Cohort Study," Willis, F.B. et al,.

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