"If I move more, I will use more energy, so I will get fitter". This seems to be extremely obvious. It is normal though to think that those who are active, will expend more energy than those who are not. With this considered, people may then go by the idea of "the more I move the more I can eat". 2 hours and 15 minutes of brisk walking is suggested to be a sufficient amount of exercise to burn the equivalent energy consumed when eating 100 grams of chocolate. But what if this is not necessarily true? A new study suggests that this view of the body's energy consumption can be wrong. Results identified that highly active people do not always necessarily burn more than people who were moderately active. A further consideration of energy consumption was made finding that it was remarkable equally, regardless of how much they were moving. Only the most passive people burned fewer calories during the day. Previous studies comparing the native and American population had surprising results thus putting Herman Pontzer of Hunter College and his colleagues onto the idea of expanding this concept. There is a handful of studies in which researchers have measured and compared the activity level and energy consumption of different population groups, for example African Americans in USA and citizens in rural Africa. Another example is the Pontzer and colleagues paper where was identifying the energy consumption of Hadzafolket in Tanzania, one of the last cultures to continue living as hunter-gatherers. In all of these studies it was identified that the total energy consumption was remarkably similar for all, despite the fact that some participants are much more active than others. In the last study of Pontzer and colleagues, they measured the energy and activity level of 332 people over a period of 1 week, there was a difference in energy consumption between the most sedentary people and those who moved minimally. Those who exceeded this state of activity did not seem to expend more energy. Even the most active of all the participants did not use more energy than those who were moderately active. This suggests that more movement has no particular slimming effect, if you are moderately active. Pontzer did not think that there was much need to exceed this level of activity due to the fact he believed that the additional energy expenditure was not sufficient enough. This point of activity is presumably under the official recommendations for exercise however, such as half an hour of activity or 10,000 steps a day.
Can the body compensate the energy consumption of physical activity?
Currently, no one knows what is behind the strange results. It is without doubt that physical activity requires energy. However, Pontzser and colleagues think that this effect may be due to the body compensating, using less energy in other bodily functions such as digestion for example. Many of the calories we eat are used via combustion and to maintaining efficient functioning of the internal organs. They previously believed that this expenditure is similar regardless of activity levels. The energy used for physical activity is thus an addition to the basic expenditure. Although, perhaps the body can regulate expenditure, reducing the baseline when we use more energy in activity, suggests Pontzer. Further studies of longer duration and a more detailed sense of supervision is necessary in order to confirm these results.
Concluding, being active is important but you should be aware that you must always have a strategic method.
- H. Pontzer, R. Durazo-Arvizu, LR Dugas J. Plange-Rhule, P. BOVET, TE Forrester EV Lambert, RS Cooper, DA Schoeller & A. Luke, Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans, Current Biology, February 2016