An article from the New York Times Well Blog is pretty interesting. If I could pick one take home message for those trying to lose weight, it would be the discussion of “afterburn.” Don’t get me wrong, I encourage ALL my patients to exercise. But it is important not to think “Oh, I exercised today, that extra cookie is my reward.” For the moderate exerciser, like taking a half hour walk, keep this in mind.
“It all comes down to energy balance,” or, as you might have guessed, calories in and calories out. People “are only burning 200 or 300 calories” in a typical 30-minute exercise session, Melanson points out. “You replace that with one bottle of Gatorade.”
Don’t give up on exercise, however:
Perhaps just as important, bear in mind that exercise has benefits beyond weight reduction. In the study of obese people who took up exercise, most became notably healthier, increasing their aerobic capacity, decreasing their blood pressure and resting heart rates, and, the authors write, achieving “an acute exercise-induced increase in positive mood,” leading the authors to conclude that, “significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower than expected exercise-induced weight loss.”