Many healthy and unhealthy activities may cause weight gain. However, there are now new studies claiming that working out may not always be the single best way to shed unwanted pounds for women. No longer does simply burning more calories than eaten guarantee weight loss. In fact, new studies show just the opposite. Some women who exercise may be tipping the scale further upward and adding body fat rather than losing it.
Physical fitness activities are filled with a long list of essential benefits to the body, mind and soul. There is improved performance, better health, heightened mental acuity and overall feelings of wellness. Therefore, exercise still plays an essential role in improving one’s overall levels of fitness on multiple levels. However, exercise alone may not be the only prerequisite required if in fact one’s dream of dropping extra pounds of body fat is the ultimate goal.
It is often claimed by experts that consistent exercise will burn fat from the body quicker than no exercise at all. But contrary to popular belief, exercise is not always an equal opportunist when it comes to developing a trimmer more shapely body or avoiding weight gain. In fact, for those gutsy, ambitious individuals steadfast on fulfilling those elusive weight loss resolutions year after year, may curse and eventually quit working out when they feel all that hard work is giving little back in terms of noticeable returns.
Totally frustrating. To boot, scientist still cannot explain the reasons why some individuals are able to drop the body fat, shape up and keep those unwelcome, unhealthy, excess pounds off–even when the individuals involved are participating in the same or similar training regimens of less successful trainees.
Different bodies respond differently to exercise tension. There are no indicators other than genetics and possibly medical reasons–to a relative degree–as to why some people respond more successfully to a particular exercise regimen while others fail to achieve their fitness goals year after year.
In a perfect world, standard exercise activity would help everyone acquire that trimmer, sexier, healthier body by displacing unhealthy weight gain. The new, firmer body would be healthier, lighter, trimmer and confidence would soar. But unfortunately, lighter and trimmer does not always happen as expected for the majority people consistently exercising over time.
Arizona State University conducted a study utilizing 81 sedentary, overweight women in an effort to determine the usefulness of exercise as it pertains to losing weight. The women participating in the short-term study worked out for half an hour, 3 times per week, at an intensity level that was about 70 percent of maximum heart rate. In other words, these ladies were working out very hard and consistently in the lab. Workouts took place over a period of 12 weeks and, primary, the test apparatus used was a treadmill. The women were not asked to make any modification to their regular diets. Researchers maintained detailed records of calories burned by each participant during the study.
It is reasonable to expect that each woman working out in the study should have not experienced any weight gains. However, the opposite was true. Researchers were unable to conclude that exercise alone is a precursor to weight loss in women. The majority of participants, nearly 70 percent, actually experienced weight gain; some gained as much as 10 pounds; not in the form of muscle, but rather in the form of unsightly body fat. Of the remaining 30 percent, some neither gained nor lost, while a few lost notable amounts of body fat. However, exercise did in fact cause improved fitness levels for each participant, which is a significant component to good health.
Researchers did not measure any dietary or physical activities away from the lab. Therefore, weight gain may have occurred as a result of what participants did outside the research. Additional theories include: The exercise regimen left participants too fatigued to move or engage in activity away from the study; stress hormones; inflammatory response to muscular micro trauma; participants might have become sedentary; some participants over ate without increasing activity levels.
All reasonable theories, but, perhaps more important, is the finding that exercise alone did not guarantee weight loss and actually appeared to contribute to weight gain for the overwhelming majority of women. Although some of the women did lose significant amounts of body fat during the research, scientist made no correlation to previous studies that found a woman’s weight at the beginning of an exercise program has an impact on weight differences at the end of an exercise program.
However, there was at least one very distinctive finding: Researchers discovered that those women losing significant weight after four weeks of exercise tended to continue losing weight. Professor of nutrition and lead researcher on the study, Dr. Glenn Gaesser, concludes the significance of this finding to mean that people, including men, who intend to drop weight through exercise should step on the bathroom scale less frequently – perhaps only monthly – and if there are no changes or weight gain, a closer look at diet and other factors must be taken into account.
This is not to say exercise is a bad thing. It is not. Exercise is beneficial to health and well-being. However, working out without paying attention to other fitness related details may not significantly contribute to avoiding weight gains in women or men . Sound nutrition combined with safe, fun, physical activity is most optimal to avoid or reduce weight gain.
A fit body is more important to health in both men and women than readings on a bathroom scale. Optimal health draws on many characteristics and it should be the ultimate goal. According to Gasser, “ Fitness matters far more for health than how much you weigh.”
Opinion by D’wayne Stanelli