Dammit, Beavis!

Why most of us believe that exercise makes us thinner—and why we’re wrong. Or, to paraphrase: The New England Journal of Medicine announced today that whatever it was they told you last year is wrong.

The Hacker’s Diet (a free on-line book from the founder of Autodesk) says the same thing as the study – it’s much easier to lose weight through diet than exercise. The point of exercise is to make you healthier, not slimmer.

“Unless you’re a professional athlete or obsessed with sports, you’re not likely to spend enough time exercising strenuously enough to make much of a difference. Exercise will help you lose weight in more subtle ways. Regular exercise increases your rate of metabolism: the number of calories you burn all the time. Plus, for many people, exercise actually reduces appetite.

But these are side effects: hardly reasons to start exercising. The real reasons to exercise are that you’ll live longer and feel better.”

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