The most important thing when you’re trying to lose weight is just to stay active — even if it’s in small increments. You don’t have to become intimidated by the idea of long, strenuous workouts that take a lot of physical strength and change your busy daily schedule. It’s commonly understood that even light activity on a regular basis, such as three times a week, can drastically improve a person’s health. And the more out-of-shape or overweight a person is, it actually means that they are likely to see more of an immediate result with even the slightest tweaks to their usual eating and workout regimen.
For example, a recent and very surprising study discovered that overweight men didn’t get more benefits from working out for an hour than they did from working out for half an hour. Researchers chronicled 60 male participants, half of whom worked out 30 minutes a day, and half of whom worked out 60 minutes a day, for three months. At the end of the experiment, both groups had lost an average body mass of approximately 9 pounds. But the men that worked out for 30 minutes lost about eight pounds in 13 weeks, while the other men who did twice the exercise lost about six pounds.
One researcher theorized that the group that worked out for half of the time had extra energy to burn and may be performed additional activities to account for the extra weight loss, whereas the group that worked out double may have had half of the energy in their daily lives. Therefore, some men on the lesser end may have actually surpassed their higher-end counterparts. Plus, the men who worked out more may have eaten more calories to make up for the energy they needed to expend.
That isn’t to say that there are zero benefits to working out for an hour each time as opposed to half of that. The study, which exclusively looked at weight in total body pounds, didn’t account for muscle mass, endurance, eating habits or overall levels of health. But it does prove that you don’t have to go overboard with a total overhaul in your exercise commitments just to start seeing an improvement in your waistline and weight.