Do you think you exercise often enough? Hard enough? Are you kidding yourself into thinking you do enough to halt that slowly building bulge hanging over your pants? Well, the evidence that is out there is clear – we are not moving enough and now it turns out that even when we do exercise, it needs to bring on a lot more sweat than previously thought. Yep, that’s right…it’s time to bring out the running shoes.
Years gone by there was a time when gyms were packed with people walking on treadmills for hours at a time in order to shift the fat. Times have changed (as they do) and the latest research from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reports that to really combat that ever-increasing waistline we really need to run!
It’s not rocket science, people! To lose weight we need to exercise daily (ok, have Sunday off), move around a lot during the day and eat really clean and healthy. Abdominal fat is dangerous. We know that. Yet it seems to be more and more accepted as the ‘norm’ around this country (yes, and others). Abdominal fat is a risk factor for disease…so why aren’t people worried? Is it because it happens so slowly and life in the short-term doesn’t change? I would say so. You eat a fatty take-away meal…you might feel crap afterwards but generally one meal isn’t going to create a heart attack on the spot. It’s the accumulation of bad habits that does it!
The Australian Heart Foundation and the ACSM both strongly advocate the need for ‘moderate’ exercise on a daily basis. What’s moderate? Basically it’s a brisk walk that brings on a bit of a light sweat and you may be able to continue a little bit of chatter to a friend…but not much. Well, the recently published data from the ACSM shows that there is a highly significant difference between the effects of walking (a moderate intensity activity) and running (a vigorous intensity activity). The most significant impacts were on men and heavier women. Mother nature combined with increasing time on our backsides as we get older means that generally it’s quite easy to pack on the weight as we age. Running was shown in this study to play a significant role in attenuating this problem…but walking did not!
In a nutshell, intensity plays a key role in fat loss. If you are a beginner you will need to start light on with walking, but with your doctor and fitness professional’s guidance, you need to think about progressing to a more intense workout down the track to really battle the bulge…for good. The other key message here is that exercise doesn’t mean you can ‘eat what you like’. Did you know that even ‘normal’ weight people will overcompensate for kilojoules lost by exercise by two to threefold? If that is happening then you wont lose weight. That’s a good time to seek the advice of a professional. Running will make you hungry…there’s no doubt about that. It’s what you do about it that will impact results.
Now…off for my run!