How Much Exercise Is Needed to Sustain Weight-loss

It is common knowledge that the percentages of obesity and the health issues related to it are higher in the United States than most other countries in the world. Today in America, roughly 67% of adults and 20% of teens are over-weight. Researchers have stated that these statistics will only worsen with time, and it has been predicted that even the life-span of the average American will begin to decrease.

The surprise, however, is that despite America’s struggle with obesity, exercise levels across the country are now significantly higher than in years past. Why then, is the weight not being lost?

Dr. Michael Greger explains that most people tend to over-estimate the number of calories burned during any given act of exertion. In the example given in his video discussion, (see below) we find that the average assumption of calories burned is actually overestimated by at least 100 calories.

This is not to say that exercise does not play a significant role in maintaining weight-loss or a healthy lifestyle; rather, it reveals the misconceptions we often have about the amount of exercise needed to burn off the food we intake. Typically, our predictions of the exercise we need will only provide half of the calorie burn we expect. For example, while we may think that an hour on the treadmill will burn off last night’s dessert, the reality is that at least 2 hours of exercise are needed to get the desired result.

This then raises the notion that weight-gain in our country is not caused by lack of exercise, but by excessive intake of fatty and processed foods. Naturally, the food industry is denying any responsibility; but many scientists and nutritionists are advocating a plant-based diet to promote weight-loss and overall health. I think even the biggest fan of fast-food will agree that swapping a burger for a nutrient-packed salad seems like a much more reasonable approach to weight-loss than doing 3 hours of cardio every day.

For the full discussion on how exercise truly affects weight-loss, watch Dr. Greger’s short video below:

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