Every week we discuss weight loss, healthy eating and exercise but we have never truly looked at the relationship between exercise and weight loss. Does exercise alone result in weight loss? If you exercise daily, can you eat whatever you want with a clear conscious?
According to the research, unfortunately not. Study after study show exercise alone is not effective for weight loss. Some even report slight weight gain in exercise only regimes because exercise increases hunger so people who are not watching their diet actually gain weight. On the other hand studies report numerous health benefits to regular exercise some of which are increased insulin sensitivity (this decreases the risk of diabetes or improves it in diabetic individuals), exercise also decreases cholesterol and blood pressure not to mention improving depression.
If the health benefits are not enough to keep you exercising, current research does show exercise coupled with a proper food regime are effective in weight loss. One study published in 2011 found people who exercise are more aware of food choices and more responsive to dieting. Maybe because people who exercise can relate to how long it will take to burn off the twix bar or extra serving of pasta.
In short, do not depend on only exercise for weight loss or weight maintenance. Coupled with the proper diet, exercise improves health in numerous ways. Find the type of exercise you enjoy most and stick to it. The benefits are endless.