22.05.2010 News & Events

Exercise doesn’t work?

By The Ghanaian Journal
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rticle By: Ronald Abvajee
A recent story in TIME magazine suggested that when it comes to weight loss, exercise doesn't work. The author claimed it was because exercise stimulates hunger, which leads people to “make up” for the calories burned during a workout, either by eating more calories or by moving less afterward.

One major problem with this argument is that the study the author primarily used to support his theory only looked at low-intensity exercise. During the six-month study from Louisiana State University, participants worked out at only 50 percent of their maximum heart rate.

In my experience, low levels of exercise can (and often do) stimulate the appetite in direct relation to calories burned. So, the more calories you burn, the more your appetite increases. Not surprisingly, that's exactly what the study found.

However, if you work out hard enough (which should be at about 80 percent of your target heart rate, or vigorously enough that you could still carry on a conversation during the workout, but would prefer not to), you'll likely burn more calories than you take in even if you experience an increase in appetite. And the fitter you get, the longer and harder you can work out, which will further increase your calorie burn not only during the session, but throughout the day as well.

I'm not knocking low-intensity exercise — it certainly has its benefits, particularly from a health standpoint. The researchers did note that even the low-intensity exercise participants saw an increase in their fitness levels and a decrease in waist circumference, a measurement that's been linked to more than a handful of diseases. Still, when it comes to weight loss, vigorous exercise is the key.

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