New research reveals there is little correlation between exercising and being thin, reports the Atlantic. Americans workout more than people in any other country yet have the highest obesity rate in the world, reports the Atlantic.
Growing evidence suggests exercise could even slow down metabolism, reports the Atlantic.There are plenty of other health reasons to exercise but weight loss may not be the best one, reports the Atlantic.
In the United States, people are working out more than ever, but the obesity epidemic has only gotten worse. A new study shows that from 1988 to 2006, women more than doubled their frequency of exercise, while men upped theirs by nearly 50 percent. The prevalence of obesity among Americans increased from 23 percent to 35 percent in the same time period
Globally, too, there is little correlation between exercise and obesity rates. People in Norway and Japan, for example, are less likely to be active than Americans are—yet they are also much less likely to be obese. On an individual level, the connection between physical activity and BMI is murky: Most studies show that exercise has a limited effect on weight loss, and it’s far less reliable than watching your diet
This might be because the energy you use up isn’t directly tied to how much you move. When scientists strapped GPS devices onto 30 Hadza foragers in northern Tanzania, they found that the foragers walked up to twice as far as Westerners each day—but didn’t burn any extra calories. The same phenomenon has been observed in the animal kingdom: Monkeys in the wild have been found to burn no more calories than those in zoos. Our bodies, it seems, work against our workouts. Recent research found that subjects burned more calories when they started exercising but that energy use plateaued as activity levels kept increasing. Growing evidence suggests that our metabolism might even slow down as we lose weight—perhaps because increased activity triggers the body to save calories, so that an energy deficit doesn’t disrupt important bodily functions This is, of course, no reason to set fire to your Pilates mat. Exercise can still help prevent bone and heart disease, some cancers, and potentially even depression. But controlling your diet appears to be a far better solution to weight woes—if exercise doesn’t undermine that, too: One small study found that people fresh from the gym overestimated their energy use by up to 400 percent and ate more than twice as many calories as they actually burned
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.