Eating well and exercising regularly work together to promote overall health, but when it comes to weight management, the two factors do not act equally. Consuming fewer calories for weight loss is old news, and a recent study suggests exercise is less influential at burning fat than previously thought.
The new research, involving 65 exercisers with controlled diets, disproves the notion that exercise boosts fat burning up to 24 hours after working out. It found that participants burned more fat during exercise, but that postexercise they didn't burn any more fat than the days they sat on the couch. Exercise physiologist Edward Melanson explains, "If you exercise and replace the calories you burn, you’re no better — with regard to how much fat you burn off — than if you didn’t exercise."
To find out the bottom line behind weight loss,
Melanson asserts that while it's harder to lose weight through exercise than diet, the benefits of working out should not be discounted. MSNBC summarizes Melanson's logic perfectly with this comment: "That’s not surprising when you consider that it might take an hour to burn 400 calories but just five minutes to consume them." When you're weighing in on weight management, it's all about calories in versus calories out.
The scale might not care whether you're tweaking your diet or working out more, but keep in mind the many virtues of exercise outside of weight issues. Reconnect with the countless other reasons to exercise, and stay fit!