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Can You Lose Weight Without Working Out?

feet on treadmill

For those who loathe the idea of going to the gym, you’ll be happily surprised that the answer to losing weight may not necessarily be vigorous exercise regimens.

Burn more, eat more

While there are many health benefits of exercise, part of the problem with just exercising to lose weight may be that some individuals over compensate after an intense workout: by eating more. In 2008, a paper published in the International Journal of Obesity, studied 538 students over a period of 18 months, who, after starting an exercise program, ended up eating 100 calories more than what they burned.

A common mistake of some dieters is that of adding the calories burned during a workout to your total daily calorie intake. This practice will negatively impact the goal of creating a calorie deficit and ultimately slow weight loss efforts.

Calorie control still king

The primary advice for anyone looking to lose weight is to adjust their diet and lower their daily calorie intake. In fact, recent research suggests lack of physical activity may not be the primary driver of the obesity epidemic, though it is essential to living a healthy lifestyle and a principle component of medical weight management at the Penn Medicine Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program.

In other words: What you eat may be more important that how much or how long you work out.

Exercise is important

This is not to say that exercise is not an important part of our overall health. Exercise helps prevent diseases, and improves heart, mental, and cognitive health. It strengthens bones, muscles, lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

The good news is, exercise in this sense is more about moving often.

To prevent increased calorie intake with exercise, you may want to consider adjusting your exercise routine. The American Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that adults engage in 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise 3 days per week, or a minimum of 30 to  60 minutes of moderated intensity physical exercise at least 5 days per week.

Rather than going to the gym 3 days/week and engaging in intense exercise that can potentially boost your hunger and calorie intake, try and do some moderate physical activity every day.

Every 10 minutes counts – taking steps instead of the elevator, parking at the back of the parking lot instead of the front, and walking to another area of the workplace instead of calling a coworker are just a few of the ways you can increase your activity level and supplement your weight loss.

Lose weight at Penn Medicine

Penn can help you lose weight.

Learn about medical weight loss in Philadelphia, and the Penn Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program at a free information session about weight-loss surgery in Philadelphia.

There, you will hear about your weight-loss surgery options, and how Penn can help you lose weight and get healthy for good.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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