Recently published research in the US showed that in a study of 136 overweight women, aged 40-55 years of age, those who reported greater interest and enjoyment in exercise were better able to keep weight off for a year or more.
“Increases in exercise competence, interest, and enjoyment – that is, intrinsic motivation for physical activity and exercise – explained some of the long-term effects,” says lead researcher Pedro J. Teixeira, PhD.
With intrinsic motivation, a person generally feels more self-determined and in control. "You control your schedule, you control your eating" said Timothy G. Lohman, PhD, a principle investigator for the study. "You direct the weight-loss program and you make those decisions every day, such as not eating when you're not hungry." "You feel confident. You can say after a four-month intervention 'I'm an exerciser; I can do it.'"
Long-term success, said Teixeira, is most often defined as losing 5-10% of initial weight and keeping it off for one year or more. This study was unusual, says Lohman, as it looks at results a year after the four-month weight-loss regimen. “There are a limited number of studies with long-term results. We need to find out what will work long-term.”
Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Vol. 38, No. 1, pages 179-188. See our nutrition articles for info on healthy eating.
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