“…..exercise, while great for health, isn’t actually all that important for weight loss”
“It’s generally accepted that for most people, the basal metabolic rate accounts for 60 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure,” said Kravitz. Digesting food accounts for about 10 percent.
That leaves only 10 to 30 percent for physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset. (Remember, physical activity includes all movement, including walking around, fidgeting, et cetera.)
We need to reframe how we think about exercise
Obesity doctor Yoni Freedhoff has called for a rebranding of how we think of exercise. Exercise has staggering benefits — it just may not help much in the quest for weight loss:
By preventing cancers, improving blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar, bolstering sleep, attention, energy and mood, and doing so much more, exercise has indisputably proven itself to be the world’s best drug – better than any pharmaceutical product any physician could ever prescribe. Sadly though, exercise is not a weight loss drug, and so long as we continue to push exercise primarily (and sadly sometimes exclusively) in the name of preventing or treating adult or childhood obesity, we’ll also continue to short-change the public about the genuinely incredible health benefits of exercise, and simultaneously misinform them about the realities of long term weight management.
The evidence is now clear: Exercise is excellent for health; it’s just not that important for weight loss. So don’t expect to lose a lot of weight by ramping up physical activity alone.
As a society, we also need to stop treating a lack of exercise and diet as equally responsible for the obesity problem in this country. Public-health obesity policies should prioritize fighting the over-consumption of low-quality food and improving the food environment.
It’s time to break the link between exercise and weight loss. Exercise has many health benefits totally independent of weight loss, which is great because exercise typically doesn’t cause any significant amount of weight loss in the first place.
Exercise isn’t “pointless” if you’re not losing weight from it, and the idea that thin people “don’t need to exercise” is plain ridiculous: unless those thin people are exempt from the normal rules of human biology, they can benefit from exercise just like everyone else. If you want to lose weight, the kitchen is the place to start. But if you want to improve your health, consider a trip to the gym – to do something that you enjoy and can keep up in the long run.
Even if exercise causes absolutely no weight loss at all, it still has health benefits – including a lot of the health benefits that people try to get from losing weight.