Quality over Quantity: Exercise

exerciseAccording to a new study, the quantity of exercise may actually not be as beneficial as the quality of the exercises one does.[1] In fact, exercise scientist Dr. Paul Arciero believes that if your goal is to lose weight and maintain optimal health, then the quality of your exercise and diet matters more than your quantity.1

For the study, Arciero and colleagues report that a multi-dimensional exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching, and endurance exercise is more beneficial than a one-dimensional program.1

“Add moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout your day, and you’ll be well on your way toward decreasing total and abdominal fat, increasing lean body mass, and achieving optimal levels for blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin,” said Arciero.1

As a member of the advisory board of the American Heart Association and a fellow of both the American College of Sports medicine and the Obesity Society, Arciero is extremely well versed regarding the exercise and diet recommendations that are issues by these and other health organizations.1

“They’re well intended, but they’re complex and they’re not being communicated in a way that’s easy for the public to understand and incorporate in their daily lifestyle,” said Arciero. “I wanted to test an exercise protocol with a nutritional component that’s simple and understandable for people.”1

Therefore, for the study, Arciero enlisted 36 female and 21 male volunteers between ages 35 and 57 who were described as out-of-shape, overweight, or obese.1 The participants exercised less than 60 minutes per week, having done no resistance training in the past 10 years.1 The average body mass index (BMI) was 28.6 and the average percentage of body fat was 36.6.1

Arciero divided the participants randomly into three groups, conducting a 16-week trial in which all subjects consumed the same amount of whey protein (60 grams daily) but exercised differently.1 One group was sedentary, another was to perform intense resistance training four times per week, and the third followed a multidimensional regimen that included resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching led by a yoga instructor, and endurance exercise.1 The results showed that those who had followed the multidimensional regimen showed the greatest health improvements: greatest reduction in body weight, total and abdominal fat mass, waist circumference, and blood glucose.1 Also, this group experienced the greatest increase in percentage of lean body mass.1

Another interesting finding was that all groups actually showed improvements, even those in the sedentary group as they simply ate the assigned daily amount of 60 grams of whey protein.1 Therefore, this finding supports Arciero’s previous study that found that increasing the amount of protein in one’s diet to as much as 35 percent will decrease total and abdominal body fat.1

Overall, the study supports a rethinking of current exercise assumptions: quality over quantity.1

“It’s very difficult to just life weights or only to the treadmill or the elliptical machine and be healthy,” said Arciero. “Your exercise regimen needs to encompass as much of what makes you a fully integrated living person as possible. It’s not about simply doing more exercise. It’s about doing the appropriate range of exercises and activities that most effectively promote health and fitness.”1

[1] Nauert, R. (2014). Quality of Exercise/Diet May Trump Quantity. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/02/quality-of-exercisediet-may-trump-quantity/70713.html

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