It should be simple: we eat food to gain energy; we exercise to spend it.
Of course – as many of us have had to learn the hard way – the human body just isn’t that simple. Why doesn’t exercise always equal weight loss? And how can we correct this?
According to Medical News Today, a new study could have the answer to both questions.
Researchers from the City University of New York found new evidence that the more we exercise, the more our bodies adapt to higher activity – meaning we burn less energy over time, and don’t necessarily lose the weight we want to lose in the long term.
Fitness buffs know this as a “plateau”. It’s common for somebody exercising heavily to lose a lot of weight quickly, but soon reaches a point where no further weight can be lost.
Researchers found that those were extremely physically active burned the same amount of calories as those who were “only moderately active”.
This means that exercise alone is not necessarily enough. Dietary adjustments, sadly, will also need to be part of the equation.
However, it’s not all bad news: as far as weight loss goes, there could be a ‘sweet spot’ between too little and too much exercise. But finding it will take more research from them… and more trial and error for us.
Herman Pontzer, who headed the study, emphasised that this should not necessarily discourage exercise.
“There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message,” he said.
“What our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain”.
Have you ever had to lose weight? How much success have you had?