Recently, an article in a major media outlet has raised an important health question: Is exercise really an effective means for weight loss?
As a certified professional of the American College of Sports Medicine and a health and exercise professional, I can affirm that the an-swer is a resounding yes! A vast amount of research has definitively proven that exer-cise, when combined with a healthy diet, re-sults in both weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight. ACSM just released an up-dated, evidence-based scientific position stan-ce in early 2009 that proves these exact points.
Further, there is little evidence to the claim that exercising produces hunger so uncontrollable that it leads to weight gain. In fact, a recent study from the University of Pittsburgh proved just the opposite: overweight and obese women didn't eat any more food after 40 minutes of exercise than they normally would when sedentary.
Exercise does require effort, and it does require self-control. But when these are combined to form a healthy lifestyle, the rewards are beyond substantial. Economically, expenditures are reduced (the recent Weight of the Nation conference reported that obesity accounts for some $147 billion in health care costs per year); and people lead more enjoyable, more energetic and happier lives.
Even for the non-overweight, exercise provides benefits that no single pill or prescription ever could. It treats and prevents numerous chronic conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and even depression.
Exercise is a health tool we all need, regardless of our weight, and it is my sincere hope that the public takes its importance seriously. Further, advice about weight loss should come courtesy of a qualified health or fitness professional, instead of irresponsible articles that may not showcase the full realm of scientific facts surrounding the issue.
Certified Personal Trainer
American College of Sports Medicine