lose weight through more exercise

If you want to lose weight through more exercise

Fitness, ,

In an ideal world, if you wanted to lose—say 2 kilograms of weight over a 2 month period—you could simply increase your weekly caloric output (that means, exercise more), and, depending on how faithful you were with your exercise, you could reliably lose that 2 kilograms. And you could expect or at least hope that most of the weight you lost was excess fat. 

But in our imperfect world, it often doesn’t turn out like that. You might exercise more, but if you are like most people, your body plays an interesting trick on you. Because you are expending more calories, you eat more, and these excess calories often will be more than the calories you lost through increased exercise. So some people, disappointingly, actually gain weight when they start to exercise more.

For most people, only if you are really careful about restricting your caloric intake will you be able to lose weight through increased exercise. You need to make sure that you are burning up more calories than the additional calories you are taking in with your increased appetite. Many people find this difficult, so they don’t lose the weight they hoped for. 

2018 research

A study from the University of Kentucky (USA) published in 2018 studied this process in detail, and gave advice about how you could actually lose weight through a purely increased exercise program. The researchers studied 36 sedentary and overweight middle-aged men and women over a 3 month period. At the beginning of the study, the participants were randomly divided into two groups. 

One group started an exercise program where they burned an extra 1500 calories per week. A second group exercised even more, and burned an extra 3000 calories per week. As expected, both groups started eating more during the 3 month study. Interestingly, though, the two groups—even though they had different exercise loads—ate about the same number of extra calories each week, about 1000 calories extra.

So let us do the mathematics. For the group that exercised an additional 1500 calories per week, if they ate an additional 1000 calories, that means, at “net”, they burned an extra 500 calories per week. For the group that exercised and burned an additional 3000 calories per week: they also ate an additional 1000 calories per week, and at net, they burned, or lost, at “net”, an extra 2000 calories every week! It makes sense then that the group who exercised 3000 calories more per week are the ones that successfully lost significant weight during this 12-week study. 

Recent research

A similar study was just published in the November 2020 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. It also studied two groups of men and women, aged 18 to 49 years, over a 12-week period. One group burned about 1500 calories extra per week and the other group burned about 3000 extra calories. The results again showed that only the group that exercised more lost weight (an average of 2 kilograms during the study). Both groups ate about an extra 1000 calories per week.

This study was more sophisticated than the earlier study, and showed that the probable reason that each group increased their intake the same amount was that there was a change in the sensitivity to the hormone leptin in the bodies of the heavy exercisers. Their bodies became more sensitive to the action of leptin, which is a hormone that decreases appetite. So the people that exercised much more were able to control their appetites better.

Bottom line

These two studies show that if you hope to lose a significant amount of weight only through greater exercise, that you should probably exercise at a higher level, and aim for 3000 calories of exercise per week. This might be split into 6 days, in which each exercise period burns about 500 calories. If you exercise less than this, you really need to watch your caloric intake to make sure you are not eating more than you are exercising. Measuring your caloric output can be approximated by an exercise app, and, as always, if you want to exercise at a strenuous level, you should check with your doctor first (ideally a sports medicine specialist). 

 To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.Procuramed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

Getting back to exercise after a COVID infection

Why you should smile behind your mask

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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