If we are speaking in a very literal sense, exercise does not lead to weight loss - if you believe that all an hour of exercise does is burn off 200 calories worth of a 400 calorie doughnut.
But it isn't black and white like that. Losing weight isn't just about making sure that energy out is more than energy in... we are much more complex as human beings than that overly simplistic model!
The research abounds with studies showing that exercise can help weight loss in other ways. Exercise builds up muscle - which burns more energy in the longer term. If we are more muscular, we are more toned, have better posture and thus look slimmer. Looking good makes us feel better about ourselves - and if we feel fit and healthy we are more likely to make healthier choices - which promotes weight loss. Rather than a vicious cycle (like dieting!) it is a win-win situation!
Exercise, particularly in the cold, also seems to increase the 'fat-burning' brown fat, which is found more commonly in people who keep a healthy weight.
There is also evidence that aerobic exercise reduces the risk of tummy fat and metabolic syndrome (Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease).
What's more, just getting out in the fresh air, whether exercising alone to clear a cluttered mind, or with friends to catch up socially, makes most of us (though apparently not the poor doctor writing the article) feel so much happier - not to mention giving us a top up of Vitamin D!
I won't be hanging up my trainers, that's for sure!
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