Gym folks who spend hours working out in an attempt to shed unwanted flab are wasting their time, research suggests. The body adapts to higher activity levels changing metabolism so that fewer calories are burned, the study indicates. Researchers measured the daily energy expenditure and activity levels of more than 300 men and women.
Those with moderately active levels – such as a daily walk to work, and a trip to the gym twice a week were found to burn about 200 calories more per day than those living couch potato lifestyles. But after a certain threshold, the extra time working up a sweat made no difference to the amount of calories burned.
Experts said it might explain by those who embark on gym routines in a bid to weight loss often see weight loss hit a plateau after a few months. Lead scientist Dr Herman Pontzer said the findings showed that exercise alone was not enough to prevent or reverse weight gain. The study measured the activity and food consumption of more than 300 men and women over a week.
Those with moderate activity levels were found to expend the most calories. Dr Pontzer said such lifestyles might involve walking or cycling to work, taking the stairs rather than the lift, and a couple of bursts of exercise, such as gym trips, during a week. But doing more than that made no difference.”The most physically active people expended the same amount of calories each day as people who were only moderately active,” said Dr Pontzer. The findings reinforce the message that you cannot duck the importance of diet when trying to lose weight, scientists said.However, they stressed that exercise had a host of benefits for maintaining health. Researchers say that people need to focus on diet, particularly when it comes to managing weight and preventing unhealthy weight gain.