AUSTIN, Texas – Experts presenting at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 14th-annual Health & Fitness Summit today re-emphasized the importance of both exercise and nutrition for weight loss.
Joseph Donnelly, Ed.D., FACSM, and John Jakicic, Ph.D., FACSM, were part of a preconference seminar on energy balance and obesity. The two experts say that, despite some media reports to the contrary, exercise is indeed a key component of obesity prevention and reduction.
“Energy – or calories – expended must exceed energy taken in through food in order for weight loss to occur,” Donnelly said. “Using both sides of the energy balance equation, food and exercise, to make that happen gives an individual two strategies instead of just one with diet alone.”
Donnelly says exercise is especially useful for preventing weight gain from ever happening. Exercising 30 to 60 minutes per day burns 200 to 600 calories – enough for weight gain prevention and even weight loss. Excessive amounts of activity aren’t necessary.
“Much of the literature on excessive amounts of exercise for weight management comes from studies that are cross-sectional or use self-reported data,” Donnelly said. “This can inflate the amount of exercise necessary for weight management, as individuals tend to over-report their exercise levels.”
Moreover, Donnelly said, weight loss through physical activity may not occur immediately, as the amount of activity beginning exercisers or obese individuals can perform is often limited. Weight management is a long-term task and exercise amounts can be gradually increased over time as fitness improves.
Donnelly and Jakicic served as writers for the 2009 ACSM Position Stand “Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults.”
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.