Study examines why women gain weight after exercise

WASHINGTON — A new Arizona State study is generating a lot of talk on the
subject of why
some
women gain weight after starting an exercise regimen.

New York Times physical education columnist Gretchen Reynolds
says the group
was a
cross-section of relatively sedentary but healthy women in their 30s who were
overweight.

“They walked 30 minutes three times a week, and at the end of 12 weeks, most
of
the
group of women had gained weight. And they have gained fat, not muscle,”
Reynolds
says.

The eating habits of the women were relatively normal and didn’t change after
the
study began, Reynolds says. Scientists noticed women were gaining or losing
weight
about a month into the study.

The study did find that the women who lost weight in the first four weeks
continued to lose weight.

But the study, which was published last month in The Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research, did not track the eating habits of the 81 women. Nor
did the study track the women’s movements away from the
lab.

So, it is not known whether the women who gained fat ate more after
exercising
or rested more after exercising.

“So the takeaway is, if you want to use exercise to lose weight, get on the
bathroom scales after a month, and if you’re not losing weight, look at the
rest
of
your life — make sure you’re not eating more [or] sitting too much and you
might
actually
succeed in losing weight,” she says.

Scientists never figured out why the women gained weight, but they know they
all started
to see
changes in their weight about a month into the new regimen.

“But all of them also became more fit, and that’s the most important thing in
terms
of being healthy. … They succeeded in that,” she says.

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