Exercise Alone Is Not Enough to Lose Weight

Posted on Nov 12, 2009 by No Comments

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If you have been spending hours at the gym trying to slim down, here’s some news you probably will not want to hear. New studies reveal that the weight loss benefits of exercise may have been overstated. Diet, it turns out, is a much bigger factor in weight loss.

A review of recent research by the Mayo Clinic concluded that “most studies have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone.” Other studies assigned groups of sedentary women to different amount of exercise for a year, but found that the women lost similar amounts of weight regardless of which group they were in.

Before you give up the gym forever, countless researchers have found that exercise has a myriad of other heath benefits – it reduces depression, heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and dementia, to name just a few. But when it comes to losing weight, exercise alone just isn’t the best route.

Researchers believe that we overestimate the number of calories we burn while exercising – often doubling the actual calorie count. We then reward ourselves for our hard work by eating food that packs on many more calories than we have burned off. I know I’m certainly guilty of that.

So the lesson here is not to stop exercising if you want to lose weight. Just keep your post-workout reward a little smaller.

photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt

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Kate

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