I am a big fan of exercising but I also look for novel ways to burn calories. Everything helps. I share two things with you today.
1. A few years ago, I wrote an article detailing that “freezing your butt off” was a good thing. With the weather as cold as it has been, it is worth repeating the gist of the article. Cold weather helps you lose weight. Doesn’t that take the chill out of the air?
But it is not just cold weather. A new 2017 study found that wind speed, rain, snow and lower dew point also aid weight loss. Researchers looked at 3274 people in different parts of the world and the focus was on intentional weight loss.
Why does this help? We have to use more muscles when it is windy. Rain and snow also require more muscle use.
Non-shivering thermogenesis is what we experience when we are cold and it helps us burn more fat to keep warm. However, extreme cold is not necessary for results to occur. We just need to dress with slightly lighter clothing so that when we are outside or even in a colder house, our fat stores help keep us warm.
2. As for exercise and weight loss, I came across this interesting article
The Science Is In: Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Much Weight
This, I am sure, is grabbing your attention. It did mine. The only way I ever lose weight is through exercise since I am not the most disciplined eater. So, what could the science possibly be saying?
You can read the information and statistics in the article. But the key reason, according to the author, is based on a calorie in-calorie out perspective.
Unless you are exercising six hours a day or something like that, you don’t burn that many calories from an exercise workout. You burn far more just from digesting your food and maintaining your basic body functions. It would be difficult to exercise and burn enough calories to be an effective weight loss program – from this perspective.
What is missing from this article? The benefit of exercise is what it does for the overall function of the body and not the amount of the calories it burns.
- It lower stress and cortisol levels (as long as the exercise is not too strenuous or involve too much weight training)
- Excess cortisol is linked to weight gain around the middle
- Excess cortisol also causes blood sugar to swing up and down – and high blood sugar is linked to more fat storage.
- Exercise also helps keep blood sugar stable
- It improves the quality of sleep which helps us have a better metabolism
- It improves gut function and increases beneficial gut bacteria
- Gut bacteria help keep blood sugar stable, lower cortisol, support the liver which helps fat metabolism and support thyroid function which is essential for a good overall metabolism
- Building muscle increases metabolism as well
As you can see, this is quite a list and I could have continued with more connections. None of these items have anything to do with calorie in-calorie out.
Instead, they have a lot to do with helping people who may be struggling to lose weight as stress, blood sugar, poor quality gut bacteria as well as liver, muscle and thyroid issues have all been linked to obesity.
So why did the statistics say exercise is not helpful. It depends on the type of exercise. High intensity aerobics or too much weight training burn sugar, not fat and often can impede weight loss. And diet matters, too, and this was not taken into consideration with the statistics.
Finding the right exercise program is the key.
- Effects of climatic variables on weight loss: a global analysis, Morena Ustulin et al, Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 40708
- Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects, Vincenzo Monda et al, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 3831972
- Exercise and circulating Cortisol levels: The intensity threshold effect, Guseman, Emily & Zack, E & Battaglini, Claudio & Viru, Mehis & Viru, A & Hackney, Anthony. (2008), Journal of endocrinological investigation. 31. 587-91. 10.1007/BF03345606.