There’s a lot of misinformation about the advantages of exercise, especially concerning weight loss.
Let’s use a little common sense, shall we?
When we become active, such as working out, we use up energy.
If you do not consume additional calories, then this energy needs to come from somewhere in your body, i.e., from fat.
So, the more you exercise, the more fat you burn off. And you’ll shed weight.
Quite simple, right?
This is how common sense will fail you, and everybody else who pushes this line of thinking.
Do not kill the messenger, though, as I’m just passing on researched reality.
The truth is that exercise features a pitifully small weight loss benefit.
Mild to moderate exercise removes an average of less than three pounds or about 1 kilogram.
Vigorous exercise produces barely any additional weight loss at four pounds or about 1.8 kilograms.
That is all!
Now, that is not to say exercise does not have its importance. It does.
Among other advantages, exercise tones up your muscles, improves your heart, enhances your mood more than any anti-depressant drug can, and helps you live longer. Pretty significant, if you ask me.
It is just that exercise is not all it is cracked up to be for shedding weight.
This not-quite-so-common-sense finding is systematically proven by a review of all the best literature on exercise, compiled by the most authoritative research collation body in the world, the Cochrane Collaboration. They’re not sponsored by medical companies, so they’re uniquely independent reviewers.
The header of their “Exercise for Overweight or Obesity” review says:
“We discovered that exercise features a positive impact on body weight.”
However, buried lower down in the sleep-inducing technical specifics, they admit how miserably small that weight loss is.
“When compared with no therapy, exercise resulted in small weight losses across scientific studies. Exercise combined with diet program resulted in a better weight reduction than diet program alone (WMD – 1.0 kg; 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.3 to -0.7).”
Raising exercise intensity increased the magnitude of weight reduction (WMD – 1.5 kg; 95% CI -2.3 to -0.7).
The small weight loss is definitely the same whether you exercise for 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months, or 12 months!
What’s more, regardless of what type of exercise it is, the outcome is pretty much the same.
You can verify the complete study here.
So, to summarize:
When someone, a fitness instructor, a personal trainer, a buddy, a health adviser, or perhaps a medical authority, tells you that exercise will help you shed weight, I invite you to challenge them.
Ask them just how much weight they believe exercise will help you lose, and watch them ignore your question, squirm, or outright invent stuff.
If they disagree with the study above, then have them send their research proof to me. No one has yet.
Bust the myth making.
The truth is that yes, on average, exercise will help you lose weight. Just not that much.