Why Exercise Alone Can't Make You Lose Weight
A new study at the City University of New York seems to confirm what many frustrated workout warriors hoping to lose weight have long suspected – their bodies are fighting against them.
The research, published in Current Biology, concludes that no matter how much we step up our workouts, our bodies adapt to the higher activity levels and don't burn extra calories.
Researchers measured the daily energy expenditure and activity levels of more than 300 men and women over one week. Although they observed a slight effect of physical activity on daily energy expenditure, more analysis revealed that the pattern applied only to subjects in the lower half of the spectrum of physical activity.
Detailed results showed that study subjects with moderate activity levels had daily energy expenditures that were about 200 calories higher than the most sedentary group. But subjects who had more than moderate activity levels did not burn more energy.
The bottom line: A healthy diet – in addition to physical activity -- is really important when it comes to weight loss. The research team suggests there may be a "sweet spot" for physical activity -- too little results in an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle, but too much can make the body adjust, rendering the extra exercise counterproductive when it comes to losing weight.
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