Want to lose weight? Avoid big treats after exercise
IF YOU'RE spending more time running, walking or pumping iron in the gym and still not losing weight, fitness experts say it could be due to too big a reward for still too little exercise.
Although fitness has indisputable health benefits, it takes a lot of walking or running to burn off the calories in a doughnut.
"There's a war between exercise and nutrition in our heads," said the spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, Mr Jonathan Ross. "People tend to overestimate the amount of physical activity they get. They work out a little bit and treat themselves a lot."
Mr Ross, a personal trainer based outside Washington, said exercise can play a role in weight reduction, but without broader lifestyle and nutritional changes, that role is limited.
"Some (weight-loss) programmes stress nutrition, some stress exercise," he said. "But the two together are greater than the parts."
The National Weight Control Registry, which gathers information from people who have successfully lost at least 13kg and kept it off for at least one year, reported that 90 per cent of its members exercise, on average, about one hour per day.
United States health officials recommend that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, or around 20 minutes a day.
Dr Michele Olson, professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University Montgomery, in Alabama, said it is difficult to shed pounds through exercise alone.
"One pound of fat has 3,500 calories. If you ran a 26-mile (42km) marathon, where you burn about 100 calories per mile, you would burn 2,600 calories, falling 900 calories short of burning one pound of fat," she said.