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The Exercise Paradox

When you are trying to manage your weight, it makes sense to think that adding exercise will help you burn more calories and thus lose unhealthy fat. Unfortunately this is a bit of a misconception.

Studies have shown that dieters who exercise as well as manage caloric intake don’t really lose any more weight than dieters who simply managed caloric intake through diet alone.

So why doesn’t exercise directly result in accelerated weight loss?

  1. Aerobic exercise like running or swimming can actually increase your appetite by increasing the production of hunger hormones like ghrelin and therefore lead to increased caloric intake.
  2. Exercise machines which show “calories burned” often overestimate that number as they don’t take physiological details like age, gender, and individual metabolism into account. It only takes minutes to consume hundreds of calories but days or weeks to burn the same number.
  3. When people schedule exercise, like classes or going to the gym, they tend to be less active the rest of the day resulting in lowered calorie burn.

Exercise actually benefits weight management in other, less expected ways:

  1. Exercise can lead to falling asleep more easily. Healthy sleep habits help improve fat metabolism and reduces fat storage.
  2. Stress reduction! Exercise is mindful, which means your attention is not focused on what stresses you out.
  3. Mood improvement. Exercise promotes your brain’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel good.

There are plenty of good reasons to exercise, but you can’t outrun a bad diet. Effective weight loss happens in the kitchen, rather than the weight room, by choosing a healthy diet and being mindful of your caloric needs.

Speak to the Live Well team at Pharmasave Summerland about your weight management options and how exercise can benefit you.


Dan Cassidy – Nutritional Product Advisor