Lose weight and prevent diabetes in 6 minutes a week

545 points
Lose weight and prevent diabetes in 6 minutes a week

Regular movement and exercise are essential for health. But while exercise contributes to health in a number of different ways, it’s not very effective for weight loss. Or, more specifically, low-intensity “cardio,” which is how most people exercise, isn’t effective for weight loss. But there is a way that in 6 minutes a week, you can surprisingly get lose weightand thereby prevent diabetes. Read on to know this simple formula.

Reason why cardio does not work to lose weight

First of all, let’s know the reason why cardio doesn’t work for weight loss. There are three main reasons:

  • Calorie burn during exercise is generally small.
  • People who exercise more also tend to eat more (which negates the weight-regulating effect of exercise).
  • Increasing specific periods of exercise can cause people to become more sedentary.

In an example of the first reason, a study that followed women over a one-year period found that in order to lose one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of fat, they had to exercise for an average of 77 hours. That’s a lot of time on the treadmill just to lose a single pound.

In an example of the second reason, one study found that people who exercise tend to eat more afterward and tend to crave high-calorie foods. The title of this study says it all: “Acute compensatory eating after exercise is associated with an implicit hedonic desire for food.”

In an example of the third reason, one study assigned 34 overweight and obese women to an exercise program for 8 weeks. Fat loss at the end of the study was an average of 0.0 kg. Not very impressive. But the researchers noted that some women lost weight, while others actually gained weight. What was the difference?

In women who did not lose weight, increases in specific periods of exercise corresponded with a decrease in total energy expenditure. Translation: They were more likely to be couch potatoes when they weren’t exercising, which negated the calorie-burning effect of their workouts.

Cochrane group weight loss study

If you’re still not convinced, the Cochrane group did a review of 43 individual studies on exercise for weight loss. Study duration ranged from 3 to 12 months, with exercise sessions lasting an average of 45 minutes with a frequency of 3 to 5 times per week. The results? On average, the additional weight loss from exercise averaged about 1 kg (2.2 lbs). Assuming they exercised for 45 minutes 4 times a week for 6 months, that means they had to exercise 69 hours to lose that 1kg.

The purpose of this rather long introduction is simply to point out that low-intensity “cardio” exercise is spectacularly ineffective for weight loss. But that doesn’t mean all types of exercise aren’t effective.

High-intensity intermittent training (HIIT) to finally lose weight

HIIT is a type of exercise performed in short bursts (intervals) of high intensity. There have been several studies comparing HIIT to low-intensity, steady-state exercise (“chronic cardio,” as Mark Sisson calls it), and HIIT has been shown to be superior in almost all significant markers.

In this study, one group was assigned to “chronic cardio,” while the other was assigned to 8-second sprint intervals. After 15 weeks, the researchers concluded:

Both exercise groups demonstrated a significant improvement (P less than 0.05) in cardiovascular fitness. However, only the HIIT group had a significant reduction in total body mass (TBM), fat mass (FM), trunk fat, and fasting plasma insulin levels.

6 minutes of intense exercise a week to lose weight

A pair of studies conducted at McMaster University found that 6 minutes of pure, intense exercise once a week could be just as effective as an hour of daily moderate activity.

The study itself was published in the Journal of Applied Physiologyand revealed that HIIT resulted in unique changes in skeletal muscle and endurance capacity previously believed to require hours of exercise each week.

A follow-up study confirmed the results. Even though the more conventional resistance exercise group spent 97.5 percent more time exercising, both groups of subjects improved to the same degree.

The group that exercised 97.5 percent more did not receive any additional benefit from doing so. Considering the wear and tear and increased risk of injury associated with much more exercise, it makes absolutely no sense to do “chronic cardio” when you can receive the same benefits for a fraction of the time and risk by doing HIIT.

The Cochrane study discussed above found that high-intensity exercise was superior to “chronic cardio.” In particular, the researchers found that the high-intensity exercise led to a greater decrease in glucose levels in fasting blood than low-intensity exercise.

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