In a surprising report by Vox, researchers have determined that exercise is not the best way to lose weight. This is not to say that exercise is no longer a factor in weight loss, but rather the human body tends to burn more calories more efficiently through basal (resting) metabolism than it does through movement. Issues that arise with working out, such as “compensatory behaviors” and age-related metabolic changes, can actually impede weight loss.
For most people, physical activity – that’s any movement you do, only accounts for about 10 to 30 percent of energy use. So the vast majority of energy or calories you burn every day comes from your basal or resting metabolism, over which you have very little control…Researchers have found we make all kinds of behavioral and physiological adaptations when we start increasing the amount of exercise we’re getting every day. For one thing, exercise tends to make people hungry. And I’m sure you know the feeling: you go for a spinning class in the morning, and then by the time you eat breakfast you’re so hungry you maybe double the size of the portion of oatmeal you normally eat. There’s also evidence to suggest that some people simply slow down after a work out, so if you went running in the morning you might be less inclined to take the stairs at work. These are called “compensatory behaviors”– the various ways we unknowingly undermine our workouts.