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Exercise & Weight Loss

January 28, 2016

Intense exercisers may burn no more calories per day than people who don’t exercise regularly.



The calorie-burning myth. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The more you exercise, the more calories you burn, right? Well, apparently not, according to new research in the journal Current Biology by Hunter College anthropologist Herman Pontzer and his colleagues. They found that extremely active people burned no more calories per day than people with average activity levels. Pontzer says vigorous exercise burns excess calories only until our bodies adapt. Then:

HERMAN PONTZER (Hunter College/City University of New York):

We’ll kind of come back to the same energy expenditure per day that we had before the exercise program.


He says this doesn’t mean that exercise is pointless.


There’s a lot of data that shows we need to exercise to keep our hearts and brains and lungs and all of our bodies healthy, so this doesn’t change that. You still have to exercise.


But he says we can’t rely on exercise – no matter how vigorous – to burn off extra calories. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.