New Study Shows Brisk Walking Brings Better Health, Lesser Body Fat

November 3, 2008 at 4:27 am Leave a comment

A new study confirms that doing something as simple as brisk walking
can boost weight loss while trimming dangerous belly fat and overall
body fat.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer
Research Center in Seattle followed 102 men and 100 women for a year.
At the beginning, the participants, ages 40 to 75, were sedentary and
unfit. They were divided into two groups: One was encouraged to do 60
minutes of physical activity a day, six days a week; the other was
given no specific exercise advice. There was no diet plan.

Among the findings, presented in Phoenix at last
month’s annual meeting of the Obesity Society, a national group of
weight-loss researchers and professionals:

• Women who increased their activity level by an additional 3,500 steps a day lost 5 pounds during the year.

• Men who added that many steps lost 8½ pounds in a year.

• The exercisers who did the most — 60 minutes, six days a week — decreased their belly fat by 10% to 20%.

• Those same exercisers trimmed 10% to 15% of their overall body fat without losing muscle mass.

“Both men and women can lose weight and body fat
with exercise, which is a good start to reversing the weight-gain
course that most Americans are on,” says lead researcher Anne
McTiernan, an internist and director of the Prevention Center at Fred
Hutchinson. She has done previous research that shows regular physical
activity significantly reduces belly fat, possibly lowering the risk of
heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some types of cancer.

Experts believe the fat cells deep in the
abdomen are harmful because they secrete chemicals that play a role in
a number of diseases. The cells produce about three times more bad
chemicals than subcutaneous fat, the stuff you can pinch right under
your skin, says Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine
research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

“Plus, the plumbing of visceral fat drains
directly to the liver, allowing the bad chemicals to directly interfere
with the liver’s ability to metabolize blood sugar and cholesterol,” he
says.

In addition to lowering the risk of many serious
medical conditions, regular physical activity also improves quality of
life by reducing stress, depression and anxiety, and by improving bone
and joint health, sex drive, sleep and memory, Church says.

Source: USA Today

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