Exercising But Not Losing Weight? Don't Fret
Krauss compares his work with the famous Nurses Health Study, which showed
that women who walked for exercise reduced incidence of cardiovascular events
like heart attacks. The study also showed that more vigorous exercise gave the
volunteers more small, incremental health benefits. However, the study was
inconclusive, says Krauss. "It didn't show whether vigorous exercise was
better for optimal benefit. In our study, we'll be measuring that."
Calling the study's results very promising, Virendra Mathur, MD, a
cardiologist with the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in
Houston, tells WebMD, "We've known for a very long time that moderate
aerobic exercise is very helpful in not only preventing cardiovascular risk
factors but also in reducing weight, improving control of hypertension and type
2 diabetes, reducing osteoporosis and fractures. I'm very happy to read that
sometimes you can have the benefit of these exercise programs even without
The study is preliminary and has limitations, says Mathur. "How long
will health benefits last after people quit exercise programs? Will there be
additional decreases in 'bad' cholesterol levels if they keep with the exercise
program? Also, we don't know much about their diet -- did they start eating a
lower-fat diet? Did they start making other smaller changes in their
lifestyles? Were they walking faster in the parking lot, for instance? There
are a lot of intangibles that aren't addressed here."
Exercise physiologist Amy Poole, MEd, of the cardiac rehabilitation program
at St. Luke's, tells WebMD, "The aerobic benefits they saw were very
significant. A lot of times you don't see that kind of gain. They did very well
for just a three-month study."
- Exercising -- even if you don't lose weight -- can provide benefits to your
- A small study shows that moderate exercise four times per week with no
weight loss improved risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, and reduced
- A larger, upcoming study will look at exactly how much exercise and at what
intensity is necessary for health benefits.