A lot has been said about the metabolism boosting effects of exercise.
The general theory is that by exercising you increase your muscle mass and your metabolic rate to a point where you can actually lose weight without eating less.
Unfortunately this theory has been met by considerable roadblocks when put to the test of clinical research.
To begin with, every extra pound of muscle you build burns an extra 5-6 Calories per day.
So even adding an extra 10 pounds of muscle would only increase your Resting Metabolic Rate by about 60 Calories.
This fact alone seems to limit the ‘muscle boosting metabolism’ theory, as most of us aren’t going to add 40 pounds of muscle to our frames, and even if we did the extra ‘burn’ would account for roughly 250 Calories…less calories than in a Snickers Bar.
The theory that exercise can increase your metabolic rate throughout the day is also true…but is also much more limited than we have been led to expect.
After intense exercise there is a residual ‘metabolic boost’, but generally this results in an extra 10-25 Calories worth of ‘burn’ over a 5 hour period.
Combined with the fact that a well-trained body is actually a more efficient body and tends to burn LESS calories during exercise than an out-of-shape body and the possibility that exercise can cause a massive boost in our metabolism is starting to look pretty grim.
However, there is one fact that is extremely important that is often overlooked.
A Healthy person moves more.
Now this is just my theory, but I think it has merit.
‘Conditioning’ is something that we build through exercise. And really, conditioning is the ability to move your body.
The conditioning you create from exercise reaches all aspects of your life – so if exercise improves your capacity to move, (if it makes it easier) you are more likely to do it.
So really – exercise and adding muscle creates a body that moves more.
And collectively – that little bit of extra muscle, that itty-bit of after workout metabolic boost, combined with more movement during the day (simply because you can)… add up.
Now, I still don’t think that this would be enough of a boost to cause weight loss without a diet. However, it certainly could help DURING a diet and I could also see it being beneficial in trying to maintain a new (hopefully lower body weight).
Basically, exercise makes you prone to being active, being active makes it more likely that you will move more during the day…its a snowball effect of overall ‘movement’.
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