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Starting and stopping exercise may make it harder to lose weight

Have you ever quit an exercise program, started back and realized the weight loss seems a little slower the second time around? If so, you're not alone. Researchers actually studied this phenomenon and reported their findings in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. In the study, researchers pored over surveys completed by almost 30,000 runners who had either increased or decreased their running distances. Some of the findings were pretty obvious, but there were some interesting conclusions as well:

All runners who cut back gained weight

  • The closer the runners came to being sedentary, the more weight they gained
  • Below a certain exercise threshold, the weight gain from cutting back ended up being greater than the weight loss, once the runners started exercising again.

The conclusion? People who workout irregularly may have a harder time maintaining and/or returning to their previous weight.

Now, a couple of notes here: This study was based on self-reported information (and we all know that isn't always reliable) and food intake wasn't considered. Still, I think a lot of us have had a tough time losing weight the second time around and this may be a possible explanation.

Consistent exercise isn't easy, but when you look at the consequences of irregular exercise, you may be more motivated to get in some type of activity most days of the week. Even if it's just a few minutes, it's better than doing nothing at all.

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