Why exercise won’t make you thin

Got a few pounds to lose? Cancel the gym membership. An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight. A result for couch potatoes, yes, but also one that could have serious implications for the government’s long-term health strategy.

ill like a paratrooper, often three times a week. Most days she took the dog for a brisk, hour-long walk. She didn’t eat unhealthily – the rest of the family ate exactly the same meals, and did a fraction of the exercise she did. She ought to have been the slimmest of the bunch: that she remained overweight was a frustration to her, and a mystery to all of us.

From StairMasters to kettlebells, Rosemary Conley to Natalie Cassidy, we understand and expect that getting in shape is going to require serious effort on our part – and the reverse is true, too, that we expect exercise to pay back the hours of boring, sweaty graft with a leaner, lighter body. Since the days of the Green Goddess, we’ve known that the healthiest way to lose weight is through exercise. It’s science, isn’t it?

Well, science has some bad news for you. More and more research in both the UK and the US is emerging to show that exercise has a negligible impact on weight loss. That tri-weekly commitment to aerobics class? Almost worthless, as far as fitting into your bikini is concerned.The Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical research establishment in the US, reports that, in general, studies “have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone” and that “an exercise regimen… is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change.”

It sounds faintly heretical, if not downright facetious. And it’s a scientific discovery that most health professionals are, naturally, keen to downplay. After all, exercise is still good for us. It’s just that, in defiance of decades of New Year resolutions, it’s unlikely to make us slim.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

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