Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More Evidence on Benefits of Exercise

More Evidence on Benefits of Exercise
By Sora Song Permalink
TIME Magazine Online

New research from Duke University Medical Center offers further proof - if you needed any - that exercise is imperative to good health, and that even moderate amounts of activity can melt away fat in places you never knew you had it.
An inactive lifestyle not only pads the gut, but also increases the body's hidden "visceral" fat, which accumulates around organs deep inside the belly. In past studies, visceral fat has been associated with an elevated risk for insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension. And, unlike subcutaneous fat - the jiggly body fat that lies just under the skin - it can't be sucked away with surgery.
The best way to get rid of it, say authors of a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, is with good old-fashioned exercise. In their six-month study, researchers assigned 175 overweight, sedentary adults to one of four exercise groups, ranging from a control group that did no exercise at all to a high-intensity group who jogged 20 miles per week. At end of six months, the sedentary group showed an 8.6% increase in visceral fat. Meanwhile, those in the high-intensity group lost 6.9% of their visceral fat, and dropped another 7% of their subcutaneous fat.
If jogging 20 miles a week sounds daunting, don't worry. Smaller amounts of exercise result in significant health benefits too. Participants in the study who either walked or jogged 12 miles a week showed no major changes in levels of visceral fat, suggesting that a moderate amount of physical activity, regardless of intensity, can successfully keep visceral fat at bay.


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