Exercise 30 Minutes a Day: Lose More Weight. [Study]

heater-pounder-maleHere’s something that I see a lot.

Someone - let’s name him Jeff - decides to make a new and positive change in his life by working out for the first time. Jeff is ambitious and doesn’t want to take baby steps. Jeff wants dramatic results as soon as possible, and so he commits to an hour of exercise, six days per week. After a few weeks, Jeff becomes frustrated with a lack of instant progress and feels drained. And he’s having a hard time juggling all those hours at the gym with his other responsibilities. Something has to give. And so Jeff stops exercising.

While Jeff is fictitious, I see this happen time and time again. Different names, but same story.

When starting to workout for the first time, don’t bite off more than you can chew; make a reasonable gym commitment. And now, a new study is echoing that sentiment.

The University of Copenhagen study followed obese individuals on two different exercise programs. One included thirty minutes of exercise per day while the other lasted 60 minutes. After three months, researchers found that the shorter exercise group was more pleased with the program and enjoyed the changes in their lives:

People who exercised for a shorter span were happier, more energised and motivated to lead healthier lifestyles…


The group who exercised longer felt drained. Moreover, the shorter exercise group actually lost more weight; 3.6 kg versus 2.7 kg.

So what does it all mean? If you’re truly in it to win it, be wise enough to start small. Start with a truly do-able gym commitment, and then let it build naturally over time until you achieve the results you want.




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  1. Sounds true. When I first started becoming serious about my own weight and fitness level five months back, I started edging into it by walking, then running. Dropped a few pounds, but mostly water weight.

    Went to the gym and stuck with a combination of cardio and weight training (45 minutes cardio on one day, 30 minutes cardio and then a weight routine. Couldn’t imagine doing an hour or more six days a week.

    Started my gym membership at the beginning of the summer. Since then, I went from 196 lbs to my current 175 lbs - measured 29% body fat down to 21.5% body fat, gained a decent amount of muscle, and most importantly, do not feel any sort of burn out or lacking motivation.

    Onto my 165lbs target at 5’9″ and then focusing more on weights and less on cardio. 🙂

  2. Peter-Nicholas Fragasso says:

    I am so glad to see this and now I realize I was right in thinking this too. I turned 60 this past March and I decided to go from 60 to 30 minutes every morning. I have lost or
    maintained my weight with the 30 minute routine more than with the 60. I thought it might be due to body changes (they say your body changes every 7 years) . I am not new to exercising either. Thanks for this article, Davey.

  3. OK. This focuses on “obese people” and, yes, slower is probably better when your goal is losing weight to become fit over the course of time. But what about the rest of us that want to grow in size because we’ve always been of a moderate size? An achievable exercise goal for bulking up doesn’t sound like it was part of this study. I don’t expect to become a fitness model overnight but I do feel that it requires more than a 30 minute commitment.

  4. Slow, steady gains (or weight loss) is the best way to go. Just a better way to go when starting out.

  5. bradleybaby says:

    I read the detailed study and like davey said it’s really interesting to note that both groups had the same results when it came to weight:

    The two groups of Project FINE subjects lost almost equal amounts of weight and had similar improvements in their overall metabolic profiles, despite performing different doses of daily aerobic exercise [17,18]. From a quantitative standpoint, this finding is quite interesting. It is also important to note that the subsequent qualitative analysis enabled us to determine that the MOD group displayed a more positive attitude towards the exercise regimen as compared with the HIGH group.

    they also stated that these people in the study were moderately overweight, not obese which also indicates to me that for the average person it’s more likely to be an effective and more permanent lifestyle change by not overdoing it from the get go. very interesting!

  6. Great study I will look further into it too.