A walking program combined with dietary changes may boost fat loss, according to research findings from the University of Applied Sciences in Muenster, Germany, and the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany. Scientists conducted the intervention study to explore how a calorie-restricted diet combined with walking, versus the diet alone, would affect weight, body composition, resting energy expenditure, and other bio-markers.

Investigators noted that people who are overweight generally find moderate-intensity physical activity easier than high intensity workouts, but research has been lacking regarding the effectiveness of moderate exercise in maintaining resting energy expenditure and reducing health risks. The researchers recruited 82 otherwise healthy men and women (aged 25 to 50 with overweight and obesity to participate in a 12-week program of either diet and walking combined or diet alone.  Walking group subjects walked briskly for 3 hours per week, including one hour of supervised walking with a fitness trainer. Diet-only members maintain their usual activity habits. All participants followed in an energy-restricted diet designed to elicit a deficit of 500 to 800 calories, based on the individual measures of resting energy expenditure at baseline.

Data analysis at study end showed that all subjects lost body weight and fat mass, reduced waist circumference and experienced improvements in bio-markers related to cardio metabolic risk factors. There was no variance in either resting energy expenditure or weight loss between the groups. The only significant difference between walking-group subjects and diet-only participants was more fat loss- an average of 6.4 kg (plus or minus 3.1 kg) for the walkers, compared with 4.8 kg (plus or minus 3 kg) for the other group. Larger studies conducted over longer periods of time are needed to further clarify walking’s benefits in relation to dieting and maintaining a healthy weight.

source: Journal of Nutrition: https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.251744

Categories: Fitness Science News

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