Doing more exercise does not mean burning more calories

There are certain times of the year when gyms (and other sports centers) are filled with people who are looking for lower those 'kilitos' of more: after Christmas, before the summer with the so-called bikini operation and, of course, after 'spending a little' in the summer season. In those moments, and many others, you hear a lot of new athletes repeat that they do a lot of sport ... because That way they burn more calories. Is this true?

According to a recent study by a team of researchers from the University of the City of New York, not to spend more time to deport you lose more weight, at least not in the long term. The reason, according to the investigation, is that Our body adapts to the energy expenditure from a certain amount of exercise.


Our body adapts to exercise

This means that the consumption of calories stabilizes once our body gets used to doing a sport for a certain time. In other words: Doubling the amount of physical exercise does not mean consuming twice as many calories, as exemplified in Scientific American, who have echoed the news.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers, led by Herman Pontzer, analyzed the eating habits and physical exercise of more than 300 people (men and women) during a week. The interesting thing about the study is that the authors could register a relationship between physical activity and caloric expenditure at the beginning, but later they observed that the consumption of energy stabilized over time.


Scientific American recalls that a previous work, published in PLos ONE, "the researchers found the same results in members of the Hadza population, an ethnic hunter-gatherer group from northern Tanzania: they showed a saturation in the energy consumption".

That is, although you might think that, por the important physical activity they perform daily, this ethnic group required higher energy amounts, "it is not like that". As the researchers explain, the daily expenditure of human energy is a physiological feature that has evolved without taking into account the cultural differences between regions.

Energy consumption when exercising

Based on these studies, this page specializes in science that explains that the total energy expenditure increases with physical exercise at low activity levels, but that it stabilizes once the degrees of exercise are higher "since the body adapts to maintain the total energy consumption within a narrow march".


In other words, those people who make a lot of physical exercise (sports or not) consume a similar amount of calories as those individuals whose physical activity is more moderate. "Scientists suspect that the body adapts and it tries to maintain the demand for food in a certain range, even if the physical effort is high, "they explain in Scientific American, who postulate:" this is achieved through efficient energy expenditure ".

A final note: these data do not question that physical activity is healthy, because it is not: sports are necessary for health. In the words of the main author of the study: "Movement is very important for health." The investigation only comes to discard the popular belief that says that greater physical activity carries with it a greater consumption of calories.

Angela R. Bonachera

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