Exercise first, improve diet later, if you have to choose: Study

Happy woman exercising at the park and stretching

Researchers have found those strapped for time are better off to begin physical activity first and follow with healthy eating rather than the other way around as some weight-loss programs advise, a new study says.

But the study found introducing exercise and an improved diet simultaneously produces the best results, said lead author Abby King, professor of health research at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“If you need to start with one, consider starting with physical activity first.” King said in a statement Sunday.

Researchers studied 200 inactive people, aged 45 and older, with a goal of improving their health. Members of the first group changed their diet and started exercising all at once, the second group made diet changes and started exercising a few months later, the third group began with a fitness routine then started eating better later and the fourth group didn’t make any changes.

The study found those who improved their died and started exercising right off the bat were more likely than the other groups to meet the guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise a week and five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Those who started with exercise and later followed with healthy eating did a “good job” of sticking to their fitness and diet goals, but not as well as those who dieted and exercised at the same time, the researchers said. Those who started eating right and followed with workouts met their diet goals but didn’t meet the exercise guidelines, the study said.

The study was published online on Sunday in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

The Beacon Herald, Saturday, April 27, 2013, QMI Agency

 


 

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