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Think again! If you thought spending hours in a gym every day would help you slim down. A new study suggests that exercising long hours may not prevent gaining weight.

A study by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in the US states that physical activity may not protect you from gaining weight.

The findings of the study were published in the journal PeerJ involving young adults from five countries.

Physical activity has lots of proven health benefits, ranging from reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer to improving mood and mental health. A regular course of exercise is also good for your heart. Physically active and people tend to be healthier and live longer. 

But through physical activity burns calories, it also increases one’s appetite, and people may compensate it by eating more or by being less active the rest of the day.

The researchers of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine conducted a study involving adults aged 25 to 40 living across five countries -- the US, Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica, and Seychelles. 

Participants are given to wear a tracking device called accelerometers on their waists for one week. 
The devices measured the wearers' step count and energy expenditure. Researchers also measured participants' regular body statistics like weight, height, and body fat. Participants were asked to return one year and two years later, after an initial examination.

The results were surprising;

  • Total weight gain in every country was greater among participants who met the physical activity guidelines.
  • American men gained a half pound per year who met the guidelines, while American men who did not meet the guideline lost 0.6 pounds.
  • The researchers did not find any significant relationships between sedentary time at the initial visit and subsequent weight gain or weight loss. 
  • The weight at the initial visit, age, and gender are the only factors that were significantly associated with weight gain as per the study.


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