According to a recent German study, if you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t have to kill yourself with exercise to see results. The study, which followed a group of around 80 overweight or obese people divided them into groups eating similar diets. However, one group was instructed to engage in moderate exercise—specifically, brisk walking for no more than 3 hours a week.
What the researchers found is a little surprising. The group who engaged in moderate exercise lost more weight than the group that did not exercise at all. Although the pound loss itself wasn’t shocking—the walking group lost an average of 19lbs to the non-walking group’s 15—moderate exercise had other benefits. People in the walking group experienced a significant fat loss as compared to the group that didn’t exercise. They also had better metabolisms and cardiovascular health. In case that’s not enough to convince you, their cholesterol went down and their insulin went to healthier levels as well.
So what does this mean for you? It means that if you are new to starting exercise, particularly if you are overweight or even obese yourself, you don’t have to worry about starting some kind of boot camp exercise regimen like you see on reality shows. You can start with something simple, like the brisk walking the study participants did. For the purposes of the study and for your life, brisk walking means walking at a pace of about 3 to 4 miles per hour. If you can’t walk that fast just yet, just walk as fast as you can.
And remember, you don’t have to spend hours doing it. The walkers in the study exercised only 3 hours a week. You can do that. An easy way to start is just to walk around the block before you start your day and then do it again at the end of the day. Even though you’re starting simple, you’ll still be able to get results. And then you can move on to new goals and challenges.