ExerciseHeart DiseaseObesity

The benefits of knowing that you are exercising

Dr. Lisa Terre from the University of Missouri-Kansas City has published a review of the importance of physical activity counseling.

It turns out that greater cardio benefits occur among people who are aware that their activity is doing their body good.

In support of her position, she presents the results from a study at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • A group of 84 female hotel room attendants were largely unaware that their room-cleaning work met or exceeded the Surgeon General’s active lifestyle recommendations.
  • Some were informed that their daily work routine qualified as “good exercise” consistent with national criteria for an “active lifestyle.”
  • The rest were not given this information.
  • During the next 4 weeks, their workload remained stable and no additional leisure-time exercise was reported.

And, the results.

  • The informed workers perceived themselves as more active than their control group counterparts.
  • More importantly, compared to the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.

Placebo effect?

Maybe, but other researchers have reported similar observations. These studies are referenced in Dr. Terre’s article.

She concludes, “Lifestyle changes should represent just-noticeable differences from previous levels of functioning… As a first-step effort, nearly everyone can infuse just a little bit more movement into their habitual routines without undue risk of harm.”

8/26/08 19:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.