General Health Thursday July 26, 2012

We ARE exercising enough

The BBC reported yesterday on a study done on the Hadzabe, a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, which highlighted that exercise may not be as important as we are lead to believe. The findings of the study would suggest that being overweight is becoming an issue in the West mainly because of overeating, and not just because of a lack of activity. Obviously this is debatable.

Dr Herman Pontzer, an anthropologist at Hunter College New York, commented on the research, saying that initially it was assumed that people following a hunter-gatherer existence would burn much more calories than people with a Western lifestyle. However, the study showed that this was not the cash. When adjustments were made for height and weight there wasn’t much difference between the metabolic rate of the Hadzabe (picture by Sebastien Burel / Shutterstock.com) and adults from Europe or the US.

This would indicate that the science behind energy consumption is much more complicated than we’d like to think. Obviously, and this is supported by Dr Pontzer, doing a healthy amount of exercise is important, however it would appear that it shouldn’t be the focus when we want to lose weight. Essentially, obesity is a problem because many of us are consuming more calories than is needed to perform our day-to-day activities. However, if we were to do more and burn more calories; it wouldn’t make much of a difference to our metabolic rate, which is what the research seems to be indicating. Our metabolic rate is the rate at which our bodies consume energy.

This means that if the Hadza has a similar metabolic rate to us, it’s likely that their bodies have adapted to be more ‘energy efficient’ to allow them to deal with the physical challenges of their environment, which involves hunting on foot, with bows and arrows.

This could indicate that if we continuously subject our bodies to the same amount of exercise, our bodies may become more energy efficient and therefore our metabolic rate will return to normal. So what this could indicate is that we either continuously need to challenge our bodies while we also need to aim to eat less, however the focus seems to be primarily on eating less.

Obviously, further confirmation of these findings is required before it should be taken as doctrine. However the findings are still extremely interesting and may change the way we structure weight loss regimes in the future. I don’t think that we should ever exclude exercise completely, but what we could take from the findings is that it there is no point in overeating or eating unhealthy and assuming that doing exercise will make up for it. It may sound like an arbitrary conclusion, but perhaps key to a healthy body and mind is to ensure that we only consume enough calories to satisfy the challenges of our environment.

Latest Stories

Get your daily dose of inspiration from our Best of healthexpress blog , where we showcase some of the most stunning stories and information.

General Health

Cow's Milk vs. Soy Milk, Which i...

Soy milk is often presented to us as a healthy milk alternative, especially for those who have trouble digesting animal milk, but is it better for...

Weight Loss

Relatively Painless Ways To Lose...

There's no arguing that trying to lose weight is boring, tedious and takes literally forever. If only there were some easy and painless ways to...

General Health

How to deal with allergies

Allergy UK says that 30-35% of the worldwide population will suffer from an allergy at some point, and there is an upwards trend of allergy...

Sexual Health

Sex Vs No Sex: Which Is Best For...

If you ask anyone this question, they will probably say that sex is best for health and more of it please. But there are always two sides to a...

General Health

Can you run for your bus? Appare...

The health of British men and women is not glowing. 'Could Try Harder' should be scribbled our health reports because a new survey conducted by the...

Weight Loss

Occasional Consumption; Is It To...

We are in the midst of an obesity crisis of which we are uncertain of the outcome. Who knows how this epidemic will pan out in the future? Are we...

Load More Stories
comments powered by Disqus