Exercise vs. Holiday Eating
by David Dunaief
Nov 24, 2020 | 6635 views | 0 0 comments | 846 846 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. David Dunaief is located in Downtown Brooklyn and focuses on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management.
Dr. David Dunaief is located in Downtown Brooklyn and focuses on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management.
slideshow
To quash guilt about Thanksgiving meal indiscretions, many of us will resolve to exercise to burn off the calories from this seismic meal and the smaller, calorically dense aftershock meals.

Unfortunately, exercise without dietary changes may not actually help many people lose weight. If it does help, it may only modestly reduce fat mass and weight for the majority of people.

However, it may be helpful with weight maintenance. Ultimately, it may be more important to reconsider what you are eating than to succumb to the rationalization that you can eat with abandon during the holidays and work it off later.

There is good news, though: Exercise has beneficial effects on a wide range of conditions, including chronic kidney disease, cognitive decline, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, fatigue, insomnia and depression.

Exercise for weight loss

The well-known weight-loss paradigm is that when more calories are burned than consumed, we will tip the scale in favor of weight loss. However, study results show that in premenopausal women there was neither weight nor fat loss from exercise.

This involved 81 women over a short duration, 12 weeks. All of the women were overweight to obese, although there was great variability in weight.

However, more than two-thirds of the women gained a mean of 2.2 pounds of fat mass by the end of the study. There were a few who gained 10 pounds of predominantly fat. Researchers saw a fair amount of variability among the participants, ranging from significant weight loss to substantial weight gain.

These women were told to exercise at the American College of Sports Medicine’s optimal level of intensity. This is to walk 30 minutes on a treadmill three times a week at 70 percent VO2max — maximum oxygen consumption during exercise — or, in other words, a moderately intense pace.

The good news is that the women were in better aerobic shape by the end of the study. Also, women who had lost weight at the four-week mark were more likely to continue to do so by the study’s end.

Other studies have shown modest weight loss. For instance, in a meta-analysis involving 14 randomized controlled trials, results showed that there was a disappointing amount of weight loss with exercise alone.

In six months, patients lost a mean of 3.5 pounds, and at 12 months, participants lost about 3.75 pounds.

Exercise and weight maintenance

However, exercise may be valuable in weight maintenance, according to observational studies. Premenopausal women who exercised at least 30 minutes a day were significantly less likely to regain lost weight.

When exercise was added to diet, women were able to maintain 30 percent more weight loss than with diet alone after a year in a prospective study.

Exercise and disease

As just one example of exercise’s impact on disease, let’s look at chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Trial results showed that walking regularly could reduce the risk of kidney replacement therapy and death in patients who have moderate to severe CKD, stages 3-5. The more frequently patients walked during the week, the better the probability of preventing complications.

Those who walked between one and two times per week had 17 and 19 percent reductions in death and kidney replacement therapy, respectively, while those who walked at least seven times per week saw 44 and 59 percent reductions in death and kidney replacement.

The authors concluded that the effectiveness of walking on CKD was independent of kidney function, age or other diseases.

Therefore, while it is important to enjoy the holidays, remember that food choices will have the greatest impact on our weight and body composition. However, exercise can help maintain weight loss and is extremely beneficial for preventing progression of chronic diseases, such as CKD.

So, by all means, exercise during the holidays, but also focus on more nutrient-dense foods. At a minimum, strike a balance rather than eating purely calorically dense foods. You won’t be able to exercise them away.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet