There's No Place Like Home
A new study found that obese women are more likely to stick with - and lose more weight on - a home-exercise program as compared to a group-based program.
Researchers at the University of Florida followed the progress of 49 women, aged 40 to 60, who were placed on one of two diet and exercise programs.
Both groups, whose weights averaged greater than 190 pounds, limited their caloric intake to 1,200 per day and attended two-hour group sessions for the first six months to learn about weight management.
These sessions were reduced to every other week during the second six months, and were designed to encourage the participants to discuss their eating and exercise habits, and teach them how to maintain these positive changes.
All participants were told to complete a moderate-intensity walking program, consisting of 30 minutes per day, five days per week.
The group-exercise participants engaged in three supervised group walking sessions per week (this was reduced to two for the second six months); they were responsible for walking on their own the other two days. The home exercisers had the option of exercising whenever and wherever they desired.
The researchers attributed the drop in exercise adherence by the group-based exercisers to the restrictive nature of having to use a single, designated site at predetermined times.
''The greater convenience and flexibility of home-based exercise may produce higher levels of exercise participation,'' say the researchers.
It should be noted that previous studies have shown that consultation with, and support from, health and fitness professionals - in addition to an exercise program - help people lose weight and stick with their program.
Source: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, February 1998; 65: 278-285
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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