The difference an hour makes (or doesn’t)

Just to make your head spin on this Friday here are a bunch of new studies/findings/discussions of findings to make you go in circles.

3o minutes a day, no longer the path to the golden ring of Health : “It’s widely accepted that 30 minutes a day of exercise will lower the risk of some chronic diseases, but new research suggests it’s not enough to control weight gain. The new study from the US has found that among middle aged and older women, there’s little difference in weight gain between women who get their 30 minutes and those who don’t. ”

Okay then, well what DO they suggest? “People should undertake a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. Now the intention there is to reduce the risk of various diseases like heart disease and reduce the risk of early death. But we really haven’t been able to pinpoint or optimise the amount of exercise required for prevention of weight gain, we haven’t really had the research.”

Wait, what?  We really haven’t had the RESEARCH??  Billions of funded dollars have gone into weight studies so that we can banish us huge blobs of flesh from the world and there hasn’t been enough research??  Or is it that the research hasn’t provided them with the biased results they WANT?  Namely that we fatties just need to walk a bit further every day than from couch to fridge and back and then POOF we’ll be Magic-Thin!?  Also notable, yeah 30 minutes improves your HEALTH but damn, I mean you’ll still be FAT so..ugg we need more research.  *eyeroll*

So okay, not 30 minutes.  What do you folks suggest instead? Give me more about that 60 minutes….

Only one hour a week: “There’s growing support for what’s known as high intensity interval training. You literally pack a weeks’ worth of exercise into a short amount of time. The research is mounting and some exercise experts are creating a buzz with claims this could revolutionize exercise. The research focuses specifically on high intensity interval training. It’s recommended you spend about four minutes at 100 percent capacity and then rest for several minutes in between. The entire work out lasts 20 to 30 minutes once or twice a week. Most of the research has been done in young, physically fit people. But some studies are showing older people even those with some medical conditions might be able to handle it.” (Emphasis is mine)

No, no! One hour a DAY.  Just to MAINTAIN!: “Researchers followed more than 34,000 middle-aged women for 13 years. They measured their weight and activity level, and found those who exercised at least 60 minutes a day gained fewer pounds over time than those who clocked less time in the gym or on the track.  ‘The hour a day that this study is talking about is moderate exercise,'”* (emphasis mine)

And people wonder why us poor fatties are confused.  I must say I “love” the language in the end of the second article indicating that one woman doing intense (not just the recommended “moderate” level mind you) 1 hour workouts a day is “winning the war on weight gain”.  Swell!  Do you think she’ll get a banner to that effect anytime soon declaring that her War on Weight is Won?  Also amusing to me was when I heard this latter reported a few days ago on TV and the reporter coming back from the “experts” was aghast: “But…did you hear that??  A full hour a day just to MAINTAIN?!” But then, he was a guy so I guess he doesn’t have to worry because the only thing researchers really care about is that there aren’t any unsightly fat women around.  For now at least. That may change and is definitely on** its way but you’ll note that both of the above are for getting WOMEN thinner/not as fat. Also, a Google news search for “men exercise study” ONLY pulls the first page of results ALL for women.  (yes, even searching for “men” still pulls “Oh noes, you must have meant “women”)

So that’s your contradictory (or arguably not?) findings for the end of the week.  More exercise might stave off that extra 6 pounds of middle-aged spread.  If you’re already at a normal weight.  Maybe.

Another interesting article reports a study which concludes: “Although modest weight reductions were observed, there is a lack of high-quality evidence to support the efficacy of weight loss programmes in older people.” (a funny bit in the methodology is that these results are even when using the “significant” weight loss of 3kg.  For those of us not on-board with metric that is 6.6 pounds.  That’s not what I call “success”; otherwise I could have totally called myself a diet “winner” many times over in my past!!

Happy exercising this weekend.  I plan to spend some time waving around some Palms and trumpets on Sunday, how about you?

*Note that this ONLY works for people already considered at a “normal” weight: “The findings did not hold true, however, for overweight and obese women.” As per folks at The Examiner.

**LOVE the quote this one ends with: ““It’s clear that the message to lose weight isn’t working because so many people regain weight. A new message is to keep exercising and maintain your weight to reduce disease risk and improve overall health,” said the study’s lead author, Tom Thomas. “Don’t worry so much about losing weight, but focus on exercising and maintaining your current weight.””

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16 thoughts on “The difference an hour makes (or doesn’t)

  1. Ok then, does that mean that this OHNOESDEATHFATZ woman here who has been between 375 and 385 lbs for the last 12 years doesn’t have to worry so much about losing weight now? I mean, I’ve been doing what exercise I can, what with the fibromyalgia and arthritic knees, and I’ve maintained the same weight for 12 years………….
    Can we just say they don’t know what they’re talking about, and probably never will and leave it at that? Then we can all go on our merry ways and live our lives the way we want, doing what we want, and being as healthy as we want, and to hell with the so-called experts who keep changing their advice every other week or so.

    • I’m all for living life as we want! And yeah, I think even as a kid I began to recognize the inconsistency of advice when I would hear “The incredibly edible egg” ads and could remember being told eggs were one step away from death-bringing evil…and then butter/margarine debates and HFC syrup versus sugar…. I can’t be bothered to follow the advice of folks who will inevitably end up changing their minds; sometimes in a 180 degree swing!

    • Can we just say they don’t know what they’re talking about, and probably never will and leave it at that?

      Indeed we may, but it’s fun watching them think we haven’t noticed.

      “winning the war on weight gain”. Swell!

      That pun is phat.

  2. Amen! As a woman of 60 who has walked probably close to 60,000 miles in my life, exercised often & often quite intensely, since I was a little girl of 9 (& I was a hyper kid before that too), & who has battled several bouts lasting 3-4 years of exercising 3-4 hours daily, only to find that exercising 4 HOURS EVERY DAMN day resulted in 4-5 pounds of weight loss per year, which quickly rebounded to a 40-45 pound weight GAIN in the years since I cut back to 45-90 minutes of exercise daily after my last bout, helped along by aging & menopause, let me say that they are so full of crap, it isn’t funny! Not only that, but any reliable, halfway genuinely scientific study shows that it is not only normal to gain some weight with aging, but protective of health for most of us, that weight loss is dangerous & becomes moreso as we age, so that by the time you reach my age, losing weight increases your mortality risk by several hundred percent. I will continue moving as I can for as long as I can, in my aging, arthritic, disabled (CP) body. Anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my fat ass.

    • Amen! I too notice how “swept under the rug” that whole idea that people DO gain weight as they age is. Except as an intro tag-line into an article about how to avoid it!! Craziness!!

  3. Silly rabbit, thinking that ‘health’ and ‘weight loss’ might not be precisely the same thing! Now don’t question the experts who have spent bajillions of dollars trying to squeeze the data into their theory. That would be hubris on an epic level.

    Sigh. It just never stops, does it?

    Me? I’ll keep on walking and puttering around my house and stuff like that. My body feels good and no doctor has found anything wrong with any measurement than my waistline (well, except for the time that inept person caught a flap of my skin in the blood pressure cuff and apparently didn’t hear me yelling about that and concluded that I was about to stroke out right then and there), so I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

    • I know, silly Easter bunny here trying to hold up Document A which says “health isn’t linked always to weight” and Document B which says “lost weight doesn’t always STAY lost” and trying to make people see them both at the same time (if even at all…sometimes I wonder if I’m holding these documents up to a mirror and finding out they’re really vampires?) is frustrating!

    • I know…but I have to keep hoping (it springs eternal, don’tcha know!) that with all of these contradictions all over that more and more people will come to think that maybe, just maybe, all this “LOSE WEIGHT!” mantra-ing isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be…

    • Thanks for the link; it is so perfect to illustrate this seemingly endless loop of the same information being brought to light; swept under the rug, brought to “light”, swept again…. *sigh*

  4. This is so frustrating! I actually took Health Psych a couple semesters ago and it was almost exclusively focused on weight. Seriously? Out of all the health-related behaviors and health issues with a psychological component we could study, WEIGHT is the most important?!? Another thing that bugs me is the use of the word “overweight” as a noun (“the incidence of overweight is rising”). But back to the point: why are we pouring money into these studies? Can’t we just agree that exercise is good for you, you should do what makes you feel good, and it’s none of my business what anyone else does or what anyone else weighs? We could be using this research money for any number of more important things to study.

  5. Sooo.. Looks like the “War on Weight Gain” is going as well as the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror”. Maybe we should look at alternative options to waging war?

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