Yo-Yo Exercising

by Bea | September 14th, 2010 | Eating Tips, Running

Have you ever heard of the term “yo-yo dieting”? This is the term that weight loss researchers have been using to describe intermittent weight loss efforts that leave people heavier and heavier. The basic idea is in reference to people who start and stop diets and how that usually harms your body’s metabolism and thereby increases weight loss rather than promote it.

Well, now there is a term called “yo-yo exercising”. Yo-yo exercising is also a very unhealthy habit. Along the same lines, yo-yo exercising refers to starting to get involved in an exercising routine, quitting, then picking it back up again, and so on and so forth. According to data from the National Runners’ Health Study, yo-yo exercising actually makes weight gain likely and weight loss more challenging, and you do not want that. For example, the study showed that men who had been “yo-yo exercising” had to start logging at least 16 miles a week of running before any weight was lost. Women had to log at least 29 miles of running per week. If you are just starting to get back into a routine, pulling out 29 miles a week is a bit of a challenge. As you may have assumed, it is believed that see-sawing between extremes usually leaves those trying to lose weight heavier than when they started.

How do you prevent falling for a yo-yo exercising routine? Start off with small goals. Have a plan to work out for X amount of days per week and be sure to incorporate some light days in there to give yourself a break; even a 30 minute brisk walk will help you stay away from yo-yo exercising. Frequency is key, because if you are used to letting yourself take a few days off at a time, then those few days might become a week, and then that week of might lead you to taking more time off than you think. One of my coaches once told me that it only takes 3 days to lose the shape that you have gotten yourself into, so try not to take more than 3 days off at a time.

Yo-yo exercising is a very dangerous routine to get into, so don’t fall for its comforts.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.