Want To Lose Weight? Exercise Alone Is Not Enough
Daily physical activity has a number of benefits. It can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It helps to keep joints patent and healthy. It helps to keep blood sugar stable. It’s credited with helping to boost your mental health and your mood. You may think daily exercise will also help with weight loss BUT a new study suggests otherwise.
According to researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, physical activity helps with overall health and it also helps you to maintain a certain level of fitness, however, there is limited evidence to suggest that it can “blunt the surge in obesity.”
Researchers Drs. Cook and Luke have been studying the impact of fitness on obesity for years. Their expectation was to find that physical activity is a key tool in achieving meaningful weight loss. The preponderance of evidence suggests that the assumption may have some problems. If you are more active during the day, and especially if you engage with vigorous exercise, you will be hungrier. So the researchers point to the fact that calories consumed daily is key to losing or maintaining weight. And whether you move more or less, you have to monitor your total daily calories.
This new study has special importance, given the fact that the food industry and Coca Cola recently, has tried to divert attention from choices of foods and beverages and calorie amounts to “lack of physical activity as a major cause of obesity.” They have suggested that you don’t need to worry about calories, just move more and exercise daily. Drs. Luke and Cooper also point to research that shows that diet plus exercise and just diet alone achieve virtually the same weight loss. A very small subset of the population engages in extended and vigorous exercise that can affect weight (marathoners, triathletes, competitive sports athletes).
Think of college football players who eat ginormous amounts of food during their play years. After college, many of them no longer engage in meaningful exercise but they continue to consume the massive amounts of foods they’ve become accustomed to eating. Many of these ex-athletes struggle with obesity in adulthood, and based on this study, it’s the persistent pattern of over-eating and not the lack of exercise driving their weight issues.
To avoid being overweight or obese we all need to monitor calories. Fitness and physical activity is credited by many experts in helping with weight management once you hit goal weight, and it can probably help with occasional indulgences. But if you want to lose weight, and keep it off long term, this study suggests you must focus on calories, portion sizes, and the kinds of foods you are eating on a daily basis. Fitness activities will give you other health benefits, so commit to daily exercise too!!