Obesity slows you down, making it more difficult to exercise and creating a vicious cycle that keeps people fat. It’s a logical assumption, but is it true? A team of Brigham Young University researchers led by exercise science expert Larry Tucker decided to study 254 women to find out.
Another assumption we all probably make is that people think they exercise more than they really do. Tucker agreed, noting that 35 percent of the population claims to exercise regularly. Seven percent actually do.
Therefore, instead of relying on questionaires, he asked the subjects to wear a device called an accelerometer to provide objective data about how much the women were actually moving. Each woman wore the device for a week at the beginning of the study and for another week 20 weeks later.
The results? For once, the popular assumptions are right. The healthy-weight women had the same level of activity at the end of the study as they did at the beginning.
However, the obese women had reduced their activity by eight percent — giving up 28 minutes of exercise a week.
And the saddest thing about it? A related study, also performed at Brigham Young, demonstrated last year that you can reduce your appetite with 45 minutes of moderate exercise in the morning.
So, it’s a vicious cycle. There are lots of forces out there working to make you fat — including hostile gut bacteria and some inherited tendencies like a recently discovered link between junk food addiction and your mother’s genes.
Yet, if you’re already obese, you’re slowing down, and you’re less likely to get the exercise you need to fight the battle.
The weight loss battle is a hard-fought one. But if you realize that obesity is actually slowing you down, you have a better chance of taking control of your exercise program.
[obese woman photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga) via Wikipedia Commons]