Bounce back with exercise

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: August 18th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Have you taken a seventh inning stretch for about six months?

When people lay off physical activity while they are recuperating from an illness… or for a host of other reasons… they can see and feel the negative health results, including weight gain, in a short time.

Now Duke University researchers have found it’s possible to shake off the bad effects of a low-key lifestyle in about the same amount of time it takes to experience them.

About six months of exercise can reverse the weight gain and other negative health effects middle-aged, overweight sedentary adults sustain after being inactive for six months.

The researchers, who reported their findings at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, monitored study subjects before, during and after a sedentary period. They found participants’ waists not only expanded, they also added more visceral fat, which is tied to heart conditions and diabetes. They also tired more quickly while exercising.

Those results were reversed after the study subjects participated in a six-month exercise regimen. The key to getting the positive turnaround? Not the intensity of the workout, but the consistency.

And take heart… the research shows that those who experienced the most problems from not exercising gained the biggest rewards from getting active again.

The results reinforce the notion that better fitness is within reach for people who simply decide get up and get active… and who make the commitment to keep at it, one step at a time.