For years my wife has been telling me that, while she knows we need to exercise for our health and well-being, exercise won’t help her shed the pounds she wants to lose (she doesn’t have that much to shed truly). I have always resisted her on this point, thinking that burning off calories with vigorous exercise has to eventually result in weight loss. While that still may be true with a sensible diet, the fact remains that exercise without cutting back portions and watching the amount of calories and fat we take in will not result in any serious weight loss. Such are the findings of a team of British cardiologists in a recent study, which they explain in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In essence, they are claiming that even though regular exercise reduces the risk of developing a number of health issues such as heart disease, dementia, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes, it doesn’t promote weight loss.
Once again, my wife is smarter than I. This information that she knew and that I was slightly skeptical about is even more troubling for her than it is for me because she also knows that, as we both age, her metabolism as a woman slows down at a much faster rate than mine does as a man. This means that I can take in more calories than she, and with everything else being equal, my weight remains stable. No, it certainly isn’t fair and is another example of how women get the shaft from nature. I’m not so concerned about how my wife’s body looks (well, yes it does matter, but it isn’t my main concern), but I do want her to be healthy and well as we march toward retirement in the next ten years. I am convinced that avoiding obesity is essential in achieving that goal, for both of us. Beyond that extreme though, I hope we can both eat well, exercise regularly, and maintain our fitness as we age so we can enjoy that retirement by traveling around and exploring, relatively free of pain and with as much physical flexibility and stability as possible.