Goldilocks Exercise: Just Enough Is Best

So much of the imagery we see about exercise and fitness is daunting, because it suggests you can’t get enough. A new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham paints a very different picture. Investigators found that a more moderate approach was actually more beneficial than working out almost daily.

Sedentary women, ages 60 to 74, were assigned to one of three groups in the study. One group did weight training once a week and jogged or rode an exercise bike once a week. Another group had two sessions of each activity per week, and the third group had three of each. The exercise was supervised and became progressively more demanding through the course of the 16-week study.

You might be surprised that all three groups made similar gains in fitness, even the women with only two sessions per week. But it turns out that the middle group hit an exercise level that was just right from the standpoint of burning the most calories.

And here’s the most surprising part. Women in the  six-a-week regimen actually burned considerably fewer calories at the end of the study than when they started. They compensated by burning fewer calories in daily activities and the net was that they were burning 150 fewer calories daily.

Goldilocks was no dummy.

Click here to read more in the New York Times and here to access the study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Goldilocks image by Jessie Willcox Smith / Wikipedia

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