Friday, September 4, 2009

Exercise and Weight Loss

A few weeks ago Time Magazine ran a troublesome article telling people that exercise won't make you thin. Troublesome, because do people really need to be discouraged from exercising? They make the point that after exercise people tend to eat more, maybe even more than they burned doing the exercises. It could be a physiological response, but an even stronger factor is likely that some people think they deserve a "reward" for their effort. And even if eating something extra after the workout can't be resisted, it can be something healthy, not some manufactured snack or "energy bar/drink."

Well, today I read an article from a science website that is much more encouraging. The article "Exercise Minimizes Weight Regain By Reducing Appetite And Burning Fat..." is more constructive. It makes a narrower, less sensational point: "Exercise helps prevent weight regain after dieting by reducing appetite and by burning fat before burning carbohydrates, according to a new study with rats. Burning fat first and storing carbohydrates for use later in the day slows weight regain and may minimize overeating by signaling a feeling of fullness to the brain."

There is overwhelming evidence supporting exercise as part of a weight loss strategy. Of course personal attitude and practice can negate exercise's benefits, but let's not blame the exercise for that behavior. Instead let's promote good habits which include both diet and physical activity.

Good health depends on many factors, all of which are important on their own. Exercise is important, independent of desire for weight loss, as is good nutrition. Don't pick one article or study to determine if you should exercise to lose weight. Keep on exercising because it helps make you healthy, it's fun, plus it will actually help control your weight. And eat right, whether or not you exercise.

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