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Quality of Exercise/Diet May Trump Quantity

Quality of Exercise/Diet May Trump QuantityAn intriguing new study suggests more exercise may not be as beneficial as a variety of exercises.

Exercise scientist Dr. Paul Arciero believes that if your goal is to lose weight and maintain optimal health and fitness — the quality of your exercise and diet regimen matters more than the quantity

In a new study, Arciero and colleagues report a multi-dimensional exercise regimen that includes resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching (including yoga or pilates), and endurance exercise is more beneficial than a one-dimensional program such as weight training, the treadmill, or the elliptical.

The research is published in the The Journal of Applied Physiology.

“Add moderate amounts of protein regularly throughout your day, and you’ll be well on your way toward decreasing total and abdominal fat, increasing lean body mass, and achieving optimal levels for blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin,” said Arciero.

A member of the advisory board of the American Heart Association and a fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the Obesity Society, Arciero is very familiar with the exercise and diet recommendations issued by these and other governing health organizations.

“They’re well intended, but they’re complex and they’re not being communicated in a way that’s easy for the public to understand and incorporate in their daily lifestyle. I wanted to test an exercise protocol with a nutritional component that’s simple and understandable for people,” he said.

To conduct the study, Arciero enlisted 36 female and 21 male volunteers between the ages of 35 and 57 who could clearly be described as out of shape.

They exercised less than 60 minutes per week, had done no resistance training within the last 10 years, and could be described as obese or overweight, with an average body mass index of 28.6 and average body fat percentage of 36.6.

Dividing his subjects randomly into three groups, Arciero conducted a 16-week trial in which all subjects consumed the same amount of whey protein — 60 grams daily — but exercised differently.

One group was sedentary, another was called on to perform intense resistance training four times per week, and the third followed a multidimensional regimen that included resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching led by a yoga instructor, and endurance exercise.

When the trial ended, Arciero found that those who had followed the multidimensional regimen showed the greatest health improvements, including the greatest reductions in body weight, total and abdominal fat mass, waist circumference, and blood glucose.

In addition, this group experienced the greatest increase in percentage of lean body mass.

Interestingly, all groups showed improvements, even those who maintained a sedentary lifestyle during the period and simply ate the assigned daily regimen of 60 grams of whey protein.

That finding supports an earlier study by Arciero’s team that found increasing the amount of protein in one’s diet to as much as 35 percent will tend to decrease total and abdominal fat.

Overall, the study supports a rethinking of current assumptions about exercise, which Arciero believes place too much focus on the quantity of exercise people do rather than the quality of that exercise.

“It’s very difficult to just lift weights, or only do the treadmill, or the elliptical machine and be healthy,” said Arciero.

”Your exercise regimen needs to encompass as much of what makes you a fully integrated living person as possible.”

“It’s not about simply doing more exercise,” he said. “It’s about doing the appropriate range of exercises and activities that most effectively promote health and fitness.”

To make the regimen easy for the public to remember, Arciero has coined the acronym, “PRISE.” The “P” stands for protein, the “R” stands for “resistance,” the “I” stands for “interval,” the “S” stands for stretching, and the “E” stands for endurance.

Source: Newswise/Skidmore College

Quality of Exercise/Diet May Trump Quantity

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Quality of Exercise/Diet May Trump Quantity. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 2 Jun 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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