A big part of the reason people put on weight in adulthood is not their diet or lack of exercise, but their activity levels, at least in a lab setting. But simply seeing exercise as a healthy way to lose weight simply by burning calories doesn’t tell the whole story, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.
And while exercise alone certainly isn’t the only driver of weight, this study found that exercise’s effects on appetite can be even more startling than previously thought.
The researchers, from Stony Brook University in New York, analyzed activity data from one of the largest studies ever conducted on men and women and found that “incidental exercise” like jogging or brisk walking in itself seemed to have significant benefits when it came to losing weight — for one thing, it meant those who exercised did so less often than those who didn’t.
In some ways, the results fit with previous studies showing that fitness is associated with better health and lower risk of developing diseases like diabetes and obesity, but this study followed people continuously from beginning to end, so it was possible to see longer-term effects on cardiovascular health and metabolic diseases. The small sample size wasn’t necessarily a problem, though, because the study is in-house, and, as a result, it had access to a real data set. The more problematic issue was that the authors reported that exercising after eating was also linked to less appetite — but this study focused primarily on psychological variables, so it’s not really clear how exercise has these effects.
Co-author Alice Hart-Davis told Live Science that one thing is clear: When it comes to weight, which depends on genes, genes and behavior, there is no real silver bullet. “There’s not a single answer, and if there was, we would all have the answer,” she said.
Read the full story at Live Science.
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