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Moving more often for weight loss

A new study published in the journal Obesity investigates the effects of frequent movement on health. Obesity is a major risk factor for mobility complications.1

Exercising is known to be an effective way of losing weight for people who are obese. This study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging has found encouraging evidence that exercise does not necessarily need to be structured or extreme for it to be effective at burning weight. It turns out that obese adults wanting to lose weight may benefit just as much from simply moving more, and moving more often.

A total of 183 obese adults ranging from 65 to 85 years old were included in this study.2 This is the first study to show that a routine centered around moving more often during the day can lead to similar short-term weight loss as working out on a treadmill walker, and even better long-term weight maitenance.2

Researchers found that incorporating frequent periods of enjoyable movement into your daily routine will likely improve your health.2 The following is a list that summarizes some of these movements:3

  • Standing or engaging in light movements while watching TV.
  • Going on mindful walks around your home.
  • Increasing your daily step goal by 25% each week until you are able to maintain 10,000 steps per day. 

As of now, it is common for adults struggling with obesity to require some form of counseling to change their behaviors towards eating and exercising.Guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services also insist on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity as a means of losing weight and preventing weight regain.4

Moving more often throughout the day may be an encouraging and feasible way of pursuing a sustainable weight loss journey for obese adults, as it eliminates the need for strict exercise sessions. According to Dr. Lee at Pennsylvania State University, this simple guide is promising for clinical practice and public health efforts in the near future.2 This study offers hope that there may be a shift towards more accessible ways of dealing with obesity for individuals that are discouraged from other intensive approaches. 


  1. Houston, D. K., Ding, J., Nicklas, B. J., Harris, T. B., Lee, J. S., Nevitt, M. C., Rubin, S. M., Tylavsky, F. A., & Kritchevsky, S. B. (2009). Overweight and obesity over the adult life course and incident mobility limitation in older adults: the health, aging and body composition study. American Journal of Epidemiology169(8), 927–936. https://doi.org/10.1093/AJE/KWP007
  2. Carrington, C. (2021, December 21). Study: Move More Often Supports Better Long-term Weight Loss for Older Adults. EurekAlert. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/937620
  3. Fanning, J., Rejeski, W. J., Leng, I., Barnett, C., Lovato, J. F., Lyles, M. F., & Nicklas, B. J. (2022). Intervening on exercise and daylong movement for weight loss maintenance in older adults: A randomized, clinical trial. Obesity30(1), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1002/OBY.23318
  4. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018).

Image by Daniel Reche from Pixabay 

Andrew Mihalache
Andrew Mihalache
Andrew Mihalache is an enthusiastic learner with a specialization in human physiology at the University of Western Ontario. He possesses a strong passion for epidemiology and medical research and aspires to become a clinician-researcher dedicated to innovating patient healthcare in the future.


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