Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Walk Slowly For Weight Loss, According To University Of Colorado Study

Date:
June 16, 2005
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
Leisurely walking for distance combined with low-impact cardiovascular activity appears to be the best formula for obese people seeking to get into shape and stay healthy, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Leisurely walking for distance combined with low-impact cardiovascular activity appears to be the best formula for obese people seeking to get into shape and stay healthy, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.

Ray Browning, a doctoral student in CU-Boulder's integrative physiology department and lead author on the new study, said the results show that people who walk a mile at a leisurely pace burn more calories than if they walk a mile at their normal pace. In addition, those who walk at 2 miles per hour rather than 3 miles per hour reduce the loads on their knee joints by up to 25 percent.

"The message is that by walking more slowly, obese individuals can burn more calories per mile and may reduce the risk of arthritis or joint injury," he said.

Browning and his CU colleagues also found the number of calories burned per pound of body weight is similar for obese adults as normal sized adults walking at the same speed. Because obese people generally have heavier legs, wider stances and swing their legs in a wider arc, the researchers expected the cost of walking for obese people to be significantly higher.

"This was a surprise," said Browning. "The subjects probably are unwittingly altering their posture and walking with straighter legs, conserving calories in the process."

A paper by Browning, CU-Boulder integrative physiology Associate Professor Rodger Kram and undergraduates Emily Baker and Jessica Herron was presented at the June 2005 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Nashville and published recently in the journal, "Obesity Research."

The CU-Boulder researchers based their expectations that obese adults would have a greater energy cost when walking on previous studies by Kram's lab team. In one study, energy expenditure increased by about 25 percent when normal-weight people walked with a deliberately wider stance, said Browning.

Other CU studies conducted in CU's Locomotion Laboratory have shown that normal weight people wearing "winged" shoes designed to force them to increase their lateral leg swing increased the metabolic cost of walking by 30 percent, Browning said.

"As people become gradually obese, they also seem to become particularly graceful," said Kram. "There appears to be some sort of a physiological drive for them to minimize the amount of energy they expend."

The researchers tested 20 men and 20 women on treadmills and sidewalks, half of whom were of normal weight and half classified as class 2 obese, meaning they have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 to 40. A 5-foot 4-inch tall woman with a BMI of 30 weighs about 175 pounds, while a 6-foot man with a BMI of 30 weighs about 225 pounds.

The researchers measured each subject's body composition using an instrument known as a DEXA scanner to measure fat mass, lean tissue mass and bone mineral content of the total body. They also measured the oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production of the test subjects to determine the energy and calories expended while walking.

As part of the ongoing research, the research team is using a unique treadmill that can independently measure loads placed on the left and right feet while walking, Browning said. The treadmill helps them measure how the biomechanical forces increase with body weight and walking speed.

The results show that brisk walking dramatically increases the knee joint forces, which can lead to a variety of problems including joint injuries and arthritis, the researchers said.

"This study also pointed up the phenomenal accomplishments of obese people," said Kram. "Our test subjects lead productive lives, and if you weigh 300 pounds, many everyday activities are athletic endeavors."

Walking doesn't require special clothing, stressed Browning. "It's doing some simple things, like using the stairs rather the elevator, parking your car further from your destination, or getting off the bus one stop early and walking. Rather than trying to walk fast, obese individuals can gain both caloric and biomechanical benefits from walking at a more leisurely pace."

Because walking slowly may not significantly improve an obese person's level of cardiovascular fitness, performing other vigorous lower-impact activities like swimming, cycling, step routines and elliptical training workouts also are recommended, said Browning.

Much of the research was carried out at the General Clinical Research Center housed within CU-Boulder's Wardenburg Health Center, which receives more than $1 million in funding annually from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Walk Slowly For Weight Loss, According To University Of Colorado Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616061516.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2005, June 16). Walk Slowly For Weight Loss, According To University Of Colorado Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616061516.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Walk Slowly For Weight Loss, According To University Of Colorado Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050616061516.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Too Few Teens Receiving HPV Vaccination, CDC Says

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is blaming doctors for the low number of children being vaccinated for HPV. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins