fitness and nutrition

Workplace Wellness: Study Connects Exercise, Fitness

As workplace wellness programs help employees improve their health and businesses reduce their health costs, two areas of focus remain fitness and nutrition.

How linked might they be?

We reported a study published in Diabetes that raises the idea that more than exercise might be needed to fully address obesity.

The study is titled “Reduced Nonexercise Activity Attenuates Negative Energy Balance in Mice Engaged in Voluntary Exercise,” and it states: “Exercise alone is often ineffective for treating obesity despite the associated increase in metabolic requirements.”

As the New York Times reports: “If you give a mouse a running wheel, it will run. But it may not burn many additional calories, because it will also start to move differently when it is not on the wheel, according to an interesting new study of the behaviors and metabolisms of exercising mice.”

Now a new NYT post advances the idea: “Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss. Provided You Do Enough.”

The study, titled “Energy Compensation in Response to Aerobic Exercise Training in Overweight Adults,” is published in Physiology. It states: “Weight loss from exercise is often less than expected. Putative compensatory mechanisms may limit exercise-induced reductions in body fat and might be proportional to exercise energy expenditure.”

The study sought “to determine compensation (difference between accumulated exercise energy expenditure and changes in body tissue energy stores) and compensatory responses to 1500 or 3000 kcal/week of exercise energy expenditure.”

The NYT reports: “The men and women in the group that had burned 1,500 calories a week with exercise proved to have compensated for nearly 950 of those calories, the numbers indicated.”

“Interestingly, those in the other group had also compensated for some of the calories they had burned, and to almost the exact same extent as those who had exercised less, adding back about 1,000 calories a week, the calculations showed.”

“But since they had expended 3,000 calories a week, they had wound up with a weekly deficit of about 2,000 calories from exercise and lost fat, the researchers concluded.”

The bottom line: Exercise helps, but it may require additional work.

The authors conclude: “Compensation is not proportional to exercise energy expenditure. Similar energy compensation occurred in response to1500 kcal/week and 3000 kcal/week of exercise energy expenditure. Exercise energy expenditure of 3000 kcal/week is great enough to exceed compensatory responses and reduce fat mass.”