How ex­er­cise can pile on the ki­los

Lesotho Times - - Health -

Ever spent hours pound­ing away on a tread­mill, then com­ing to the end of the week and find­ing your weight hasn’t shifted at all?

Or how about eat­ing cake in the knowl­edge you’d been for a long cy­cle ride, yet some­how piling on the pounds?

You’re not alone - or go­ing mad. You’ve sim­ply fallen foul of some­thing sci­en­tists are in­creas­ingly recog­nis­ing: ex­er­cise of­ten doesn’t help you lose weight. And worse yet, there’s in­creas­ing ev­i­dence that it could even make you fat­ter.

Just last month, in an ar­ti­cle for the Bri­tish Jour­nal Of Sports Medicine, doc­tors said we have wrongly em­pha­sised that phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity can pre­vent peo­ple be­com­ing very over­weight.

The truth, they said, is that while phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is use­ful in re­duc­ing the risk of dis­ease, it “does not pro­mote weight loss”. That false per­cep­tion, they claimed, “is rooted in the food in­dus­try’s public re­la­tions ma­chine, which uses tac­tics chill­ingly sim­i­lar to big to­bacco com­pa­nies - de­nial, doubt and con­fus­ing the public”.

In ad­di­tion, the Mayo Clinic, an em­i­nent med­i­cal re­search group in the US, says stud­ies “have demon­strated no or mod­est weight loss with ex­er­cise alone” and that “an ex­er­cise regime is un­likely to re­sult in short-term weight loss”.

Here are the rea­sons why your gym mem­ber­ship isn’t giv­ing you the whit­tled waist you want. . .

You re­ward your­self with­out re­al­is­ing

There are a lot of con­flict­ing re­ports about the ef­fects of ex­er­cise on ap­petite. We’re all fa­mil­iar with the idea of go­ing for a walk to work up an ap­petite, but most re­search seems to sug­gest that ex­er­cise doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make us eat more. rather, it can make us eat the wrong things.

The post-work­out bar of cho­co­late to celebrate a job well done - or even a healthy banana — can undo all your good work with­out you re­al­is­ing.

This is known as “com­pen­sa­tion” by sports sci­en­tists: a per­son who ex­er­cises can­cels out the calo­ries they have burned by eat­ing more, gen­er­ally as a form of self-re­ward.

This was demon­strated in a re­cent study by Ari­zona State Univer­sity, which fo­cused on the ef­fects of ex­er­cise on 81 over­weight women with seden­tary lifestyles. The re­searchers asked them to par­tic­i­pate in a 12-week ex­er­cise pro­gramme in­volv­ing three tread­mill ses­sions a week. They were told to fol­low their usual diet.

The re­search found that while they were fit­ter, there was no no­tice­able weight loss and 70 per­cent of the women had piled on some fat.

While the study didn’t track the women’s eat­ing and move­ment habits away from the lab, it is likely that those who gained weight be­gan eat­ing more and mov­ing less when they weren’t on the tread­mills - “prob­a­bly with­out mean­ing to”, say the sci­en­tists.

Obe­sity re­searcher Zoe Har­combe be­lieves that ex­er­cise has a psy­cho­log­i­cal af­fect on what and how much we eat. “Ex­er­cise is seen as be­ing de­serv­ing of a re­ward,” she says.

“Weight­watch­ers even builds the con­cept into their pro­grammes, giv­ing you ex­tra points for ex­er­cise. But, all too of­ten, the treat that peo­ple re­ward them­selves with is out of pro­por­tion to the amount of ex­er­cise they’ve done.”

Study af­ter study has shown that we’re no­to­ri­ously bad at es­ti­mat­ing the num­ber - and type — of calo­ries we’ve con­sumed.

One, which looked at more than 5 000 adults, found the par­tic­i­pants un­der-es­ti­mated their con­sump­tion of fats, oils and sweets, and over­es­ti­mated how much fruit and pro­tein they’d eaten. By the same to­ken, most of us woe­fully un­der­es­ti­mate how much ex­er­cise we need to off­set in­dul­gences.

The other is­sue is that, even if you did noth­ing, your body would be burn­ing calo­ries. For ex­am­ple, a 63kg per­son just ly­ing watch­ing Tv for an hour will burn about 70 calo­ries. But ex­er­cise ma­chines show you the to­tal num­ber of calo­ries burnt — what your body is ex­pend­ing on its own and the ex­tra you’re burn­ing while do­ing ex­er­cise.

The row­ing ma­chine may tell you you’ve burned 250 calo­ries for an hour’s work, but you’ve ac­tu­ally “earned” only a 180-calo­rie re­ward.

So if you re­ward your 20-minute run (218 calo­ries ex­pended, but ac­tu­ally only 148 ex­tra calo­ries) with a latte (180 calo­ries), you’re, in fact, tak­ing on more calo­ries than if you hadn’t ex­er­cised.

Mul­ti­ply that on a weekly ba­sis, and you can see how things get dif­fi­cult. Stress is sab­o­tag­ing you We’re of­ten told ex­er­cise is the so­lu­tion to stress, but it ac­tu­ally re­leases the fight or flight hor­mone cor­ti­sol — also known as the stress hor­mone.

If our bod­ies are func­tion­ing prop­erly, most of this cor­ti­sol is off­set by en­dor­phins (anti-stress chem­i­cals) which the body also pro­duces dur­ing ex­er­cise. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to per­sonal trainer Janey Hol­l­i­day (mak­ingth­, if you’re al­ready stressed and your hor­monal sys­tem isn’t work­ing as it should be, that ex­cess cor­ti­sol won’t be ef­fi­ciently off­set, lead­ing to even more of the stress hor­mone in your body.

“Cor­ti­sol is bad news for any­one want­ing to lose weight,” says Janey. “re­search shows that high lev­els of cor­ti­sol cause the body to hold on to fat and boost ap­petite.”

Worse yet, cor­ti­sol en­cour­ages fat to be stored around the mid­dle, and it’s known that fat in this area is as­so­ci­ated with an in­creased risk of heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and breast can­cer.

“If you’re stressed and want to lose weight, you might be far bet­ter off work­ing on im­prov­ing your sleep and re­lax­ing by do­ing a bit of power walk­ing, rather than throw­ing your­self into a pun­ish­ing rou­tine,” adds Janey. Dan­ger of the se­cret calo­ries Are you the type of per­son who swears they just can’t shift the pounds? An­noy­ingly, there’s prob­a­bly some­thing in it.

A re­cent re­view of stud­ies re­lated to ex­er­cise and weight found that peo­ple lost barely a third as many ki­los as would have been ex­pected, given how many calo­ries they were burn­ing dur­ing work­outs.

Many stud­ies also re­port enor­mous vari­a­tions in how peo­ple’s waist­lines re­spond to the same ex­er­cise pro­gramme, with some drop­ping ki­los and oth­ers gain­ing fat.

— Daily Mail.

showed that af­ter two min­utes of think­ing of the pos­i­tive out­comes of a tough ex­pe­ri­ence, par­tic­i­pants felt hap­pier and more in con­trol of their lives. So when you’re freak­ing out about a pre­sen­ta­tion be­cause you’re cer­tain you’ll bomb, re­mem­ber that you’ll learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence, no mat­ter how ter­ri­ble or awe­some.

Make a Stress Playlist A group fit­ness in­struc­tor on the side, Mcgoni­gal loves mak­ing playlists to help her power past rough patches — just like she does to help her get through a work­out. “Ex­er­cise is a way of prac­tic­ing be­ing good at stress. It’s un­com­fort­able, but there’s also the pay­off,” says Mcgoni­gal. Cre­ate a list of songs that would hype you up if you were an Olympic ath­lete about to com­pete. “In the mo­ment, when you’re feel­ing over­whelmed by stress, put on one of those songs. re­search shows mu­sic can shift the phys­i­ol­ogy of your stress re­sponse and in­crease your con­fi­dence,” says Mcgoni­gal. Lady Gaga, any­one?

Re­mem­ber That Stress = Mean­ing Even though stress is scary, it helps make life more worth­while. “One study found that peo­ple who have mean­ing­ful lives also ex­pe­ri­ence more stress, any way you want to mea­sure it,” says Mcgoni­gal. re­searchers let par­tic­i­pants de­fine “mean­ing” how­ever they liked, but summed it up as a life with “pur­pose and value.” The study au­thors found that peo­ple who had ex­pe­ri­enced the most stress­ful events were also the most likely to think they led mean­ing­ful lives. — CNN

Ex­er­cise might not guar­an­tee weight loss, but some is bet­ter than none.

If you can em­brace stress, you can make it work in your favour.

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