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For Obese Kids, Low Intenisty Exercise May Be Most Effective For Weight Loss

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm

This article reports that, unlike leaner kids, obese children who are trying to improve their fitness will most benefit from lower intensity workouts.  Increasing the intensity of the exercise session did not allow the subjects to burn any additional calories.  According to the article:

According to the authors, this might happen because obesity and a sedentary lifestyle can reduce muscle capacity, additionally diminishing its ability to use fat as a fuel. Obesity can also influence the type of muscle that is built -- obese people have more type 2 "fast twitch" muscle fibers, which are more effective at burning carbohydrates. In contrast, lean people have more type 1 muscle fibers, which are more effective at burning fat.

This is good news for kids who are trying to get in shape, and ought to serve as a caution to parents and other adults that "more, faster, and harder" is not the route to go when attempting to guide an overweight child through an exercise regimen.  Exercise is a wonderful, invigorating experience, or at least it should be.  But for many people, they try to do too much too fast (for numerous reasons), and what can be a great addition to one's routine becomes noxious.  I think this applies even more so to overweight individuals, who have a hard enough time overcoming various stigmas to participate in sports, or at the gym, in the first place.  Everything possible ought to be done to facilitate a fitness routine that promotes not just short-term weight loss, but a healthy long-term attitude toward exercise.  Subscribing to this type of information can help - ease into a workout routine that is comfortable, and increase the intensity later, if you choose to.  Rushing it adds no benefit.

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