Way back in November the New York Times published an article on their Wellness Blog that I found extremely interesting, if not completely obvious. The article talked about the results of a recent study which proved that exercise – even intense exercise – is not the only answer to losing weight. The articles says:
But few people, an overwhelming body of research shows, achieve significant weight loss with exercise alone, not without changing their eating habits. A new study from scientists at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver offers some reasons why.
Sometimes you have to stop and wonder why certain things are studied. I mean do we really need a study that proves working out isn’t the only factor in losing weight? Heck, the researchers could have come to study me (or any one of us, right?)! I think one of the most interesting parts of the article was this revelation:
To their surprise, the researchers found that none of the groups, including the athletes, experienced “afterburn.” They did not use additional body fat on the day when they exercised. In fact, most of the subjects burned slightly less fat over the 24-hour study period when they exercised than when they did not.
Have you ever heard someone tell you that you should work out in the morning because then your body burns more calories throughout the day? Well, turns out that this study claims otherwise. In fact, not only do you not burn more calories throughout the day, but you actually burn less calories after working out! How crazy is that?!
Even though the researchers proved that the essence of losing weight is all about “energy in and energy out” (i.e. burning more calories than you take in), they did come up with some additional, almost common sense findings.
Perhaps just as important, bear in mind that exercise has benefits beyond weight reduction. In the study of obese people who took up exercise, most became notably healthier, increasing their aerobic capacity, decreasing their blood pressure and resting heart rates, and, the authors write, achieving “an acute exercise-induced increase in positive mood,” leading the authors to conclude that, “significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower than expected exercise-induced weight loss.”
Well that’s good news, huh? Who doesn’t want to be a little bit healthier or get better readings at the doctor’s office? Once upon a time I used to work out every morning and then go swimming for an hour every night. I dropped a ton of weight during that time. I also remember being markedly more upbeat during that time, too. I definitely didn’t have this stupid Type 2 Diabetes or the aches and pains in my body. Of course, this was all back when I was in graduate school.
Which begs me to ask the question (again) – where is the study showing the best methods for a working person to lose weight? If you’re busy doing something work-related from 7am to 9pm on most days, when are you supposed to work out? Further, what if you have an extended commute that is exhausting in itself? Where is that study?!
If you get a chance, I would recommend reading the article linked above. It’s a quick, informative read.