Exercise: Does it prevent or promote weight loss?
Published: January 25, 2014
Both diet and physical activity influence a healthy body weight. At the extremes too little physical activity or exercise and too much food can create an unhealthy body as can too much physical activity or exercise and too little food.
Neither physical activity nor diet alone appears to promote healthy body weight over the long term.
People often experience little weight loss and possibly weight gain when they increase their energy output without decreasing energy input.
Restricting energy input without increasing output may result in initial weight loss, but may not be sustainable over the long term.
From a health perspective, diet and physical activity go hand in hand: they’re joined at the hip. It is somewhere along the spectrum, in between the extremes, that you will find a combination of diet and physical activity that will help you attain and maintain a healthy body weight.
In our quick fix and quick results society diets which promote rapid weight loss results appear to be venerated, but apart from the potential adverse health effects associated with such diets many of these diets either ignore the benefits of physical activity or prescribe a less than healthful physical activity requirement.
While some people do experience initial weight gain (or no weight loss) when they start a physical activity or exercise program, even with dietary changes, over time weight loss occurs along with many other beneficial physiological changes.
One reason that people may experience weight gain or no weight loss when energy expenditure is increased is that dietary intake may also increase. However, research suggests that we do not necessarily compensate exercise and physical activity by increasing our food intake.
It may also be possible that the physical activity regime that you have adopted, while it may be more vigorous than your usual level of physical activity, may not add up to a significant increase in energy expenditure over the course of the day or week.
It is also possible that the dietary changes you have made are not appropriate if weight loss (or fat loss) is your goal.
The effect of exercise on appetite
Despite the perceived notion that exercise and physical activity contributes little to weight loss exercise can potentially assist with control of appetite. Rather than increasing...
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for science in the Public interest (June, 2012, August, 2010, December 2013). Nutrition Action Health letter
Stensel, D. (2013). Interactions of Exercise and appetite in Adults and children. Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists Conference October 2013
Thomas, Scott (2013). Interactions of Exercise and appetite in Adults and children. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiologists Conference October 2013