Exercise may not be as necessary when it comes to losing weight
Sometimes when it comes to losing weight the emphasis on exercise can be quite high. Some people though believe that what you don’t eat is more important.
This way of thinking may be different to what you are used to as exercise is synonymous with weight loss. This article discusses why exercise is not the best way to lose weight even though it may have its other health benefits.
Would you be happy to exercise less or do you prefer to include physical activity?
Think about it this way: If an overweight man is consuming 1,000 more calories than he is burning and wants to be in energy balance, he can do it by exercising. But exercise consumes far fewer calories than many people think. Thirty minutes of jogging or swimming laps might burn off 350 calories. Many people, fat or fit, can’t keep up a strenuous 30-minute exercise regimen, day in and day out. They might exercise a few times a week, if that.
Or they could achieve the same calorie reduction by eliminating two 16-ounce sodas each day.
Exercise has many benefits, but there are problems with relying on it to control weight. First, it’s just not true that Americans, in general, aren’t listening to calls for more activity. From 2001 to 2009, the percentage of people who were sufficiently physically active . But so did the percentage of Americans who were obese. The former did not prevent the latter.
Moreover, exercise increases one’s appetite. After all, when you burn off calories being active, your body will often signal you to replace them.
Other metabolic changes can negate the expected weight loss benefits of exercise over the long term. When you lose weight, metabolism often slows. Many people believe that exercise can counter or even reverse that trend. Research, however, shows that the resting metabolic rate in all dieters slows significantly, regardless of whether they exercise. This is why weight loss, which might seem easy when you start, becomes harder over time.
This isn’t to say that exercise plays no role. There are many studies that show that adding exercise to diets can be beneficial.
A meta-analysis published last year found that, in the long term, behavioral weight management programs that combine exercise with diet can lead to more sustained weight loss (three to four pounds) over a year than diet alone. Over a six-month period, though, adding exercise made no difference.
I also don’t mean to make it seem that weight loss with diet is easy and exercise is hard. They’re both hard. The challenge of a slowing metabolism, and the desire to eat more, occurs in both cases, although dietary change still works better than exercise.
But I can’t say this enough: Exercise has a big upside for health beyond potential weight loss.
But that huge upside doesn’t seem to necessarily apply to weight loss. The data just don’t support it. Unfortunately, exercise seems to excite us much more than eating less does.