If a little exercise is better than no exercise, then a lot of exercise is best, right? Especially if you’re increasing your exercise to lose weight. Well, not exactly, says new research.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, looked at exercise efforts and how they affected weight loss goals.
What the researchers noted was that too much exercise can cause your body hold back, preventing itself from gaining all the benefits of the added activity. This may be why, if you’ve tried pushing further with your workouts, weight loss kind of stops.
"Exercise is really important for your health," says study author Herman Pontzer, from City University of New York.
"There is tons of evidence that exercise is important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, and this work does nothing to change that message,” he told RT. “What our work adds is that we also need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing our weight and preventing or reversing unhealthy weight gain."
The researchers actually looked at a remote Tanzanian tribe called the Hadza for the study.
“The Hadza are incredibly active, walking long distances each day and doing a lot of hard physical work as part of their everyday life.
"Despite these high activity levels, we found that they had similar daily energy expenditures to people living more sedentary, modernized lifestyles in the United States and Europe. That was a real surprise.” And says Pontzer, it triggered him to think about “the link between activity and energy expenditure."
What resulted was that among the Hadza, those who were less active among the tribe were actually conserving more energy than those more active. “The more active the person, the less calories they burned with time,” RT explains.
Does that mean you shouldn’t exercise as much?
It may, especially if you’ve recently increased your workout intensity or frequency. But it certainly does not mean you should stop exercising—movement is a critical part of staying healthy.
But now at least, you don’t have to feel so guilty about skipping a workout every now and then.
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