Recent Study Says Exercise Isn't the Key to Losing Weight—So What Is?

Exercise is great for your physical and mental health, but it’s not the best method for weight loss

Walk into any gym in the country and you’ll find people working hard for one big reason—they’re trying to lose weight. Sure, some people are working out to tone up or get stronger, while others hit the gym for their health, but you can’t deny that weight loss is a huge motivator for a ton of gym-goers.

According to a recent study, though, those people may need to switch up their strategy if they’re going to meet their goals. The study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggests that, contrary to common belief, physical exercise is not a reliable way to shed pounds.

Public health scientists at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, Dr. Amy Luke and Dr. Richard Cooper have been examining the relationship between exercise and obesity for years.

"Physical activity is crucially important for improving overall health and fitness levels, but there is limited evidence to suggest that it can blunt the surge in obesity," they write in the International Journal of Epidemiology. “Multiple lines of evidence lead to the conclusion that an increase in physical activity is offset by an increase in calorie intake, unless conscious effort is made to limit that compensatory response.”

In other words, when you’re expending energy in your workouts, you’ll subconsciously make up for it by consuming more calories, unless you make a conscious effort to avoid eating more. The researchers say that ultimately calorie control is the key to losing weight.

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