Monday, May 28, 2012

Myth: Exercise Will Help Me Lose Weight Quickly

The inverse of the previous myth, this is the one that usually turns people off from exercise entirely when they spend hours exercising and don't see the results they were hoping for. The problem is that exercise can help you lose weight, but it's not the direct "calories in less than calories burned therefore weight lost" oversimplification that's so often repeated. For example, walking a mile in an hour will burn about 100 calories. Sitting in a chair for the same period of time will probably burn 60 calories. The real weight-loss benefits to exercise come from the eventual ramp-up of tolerance for intensity and duration of exercise that you get once you get started.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) busted this particular myth. As you exercise, you'll start walking faster, or maybe running, or perhaps you'll walk longer and spend more time walking. If you walk or run five miles instead of one, you'll burn 500 calories, and while it'll take longer, the weight loss benefits scale better over time than sitting at home, so as you train, you'll lose more weight. It's also important to not confuse the weight loss benefits of exercise, which take time, with the health benefits of exercise, which you feel almost immediately.