Extreme exercise has its limits

stick_figure_running_icon_1600_wht_3621And recent research at the City University in New York found that people only need to do a moderate amount of exercise before they hit a “sweet spot” beyond which extra effort will not burn off more calories.

Going the extra mile, working out until you’re worn out, will not help you lose weight. What seems to happen is that the body takes calories away from other processes such as keeping your reproductive system ticking over and diverts them into your exercise. An earlier study on healthy women showed that when they did more physical exercise their bodies cut back on producing oestrogen, a sex hormone.

With two in three Brits are forecast to be overweight by 2030, much of the present thinking about preventing that is for people to take more exercise and eat less. However this research shows that humans are like other animals in only needing a limited amount of exercise to reach their maximum capacity for burning calories.

Dr Pontzer, who led the research said “You should exercise for a whole variety of health reasons but it won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Beyond a moderate level of exercise it doesn’t matter any more. Moderate activity is walking to work, taking the stairs, you’re going out to exercise a few times a week. You don’t have to be hardcore but you do have to get out and do some exercise