Dear Editor, I am writing to you in response to your article "Get the real answers" under which one of the intro headings reads, "Can exercise make you fat". When I first glanced over the title of this article, I began to make a list of everything wrong with this question. There have been several similar articles and news stories about why people do not need to be exercising. Some claim that exercising will cause increase hunger, while others claim exercising will make you "bulky". In my opinion, the purpose for exercise should not be solely focused on appearance. For most, exercise should be about your overall health and fitness. By strengthening muscles and bones, exercise should help people function better in everyday life, especially as one begins to age. For some, exercise is also used in the form of training to elite levels of sport, where the more lean body mass, the better one is able to perform.
A study done by Larsson and Henriksson-Larsen (2008) looked at college-aged elite male cross-country skiers. They study used body composition measurements and differential global positioning system to measure speeds at different times in the course. The study found that body weight and body composition were significantly related to time. Therefore, the study suggested that large amounts of lean body mass, especially in the arms, are important to the performance of cross-country skiers (Larsson & Henriksson-Larsen, 2008). I think it is important to note that many elite athletes have better performance with more lean body mass.
In addition, exercising will increase muscle, which will burn more calories than fat. A study done by Sallis and Croft (2003) suggested walkers who reach a plateau in their weight loss being walking with weights. The weights are supposed to help burn more calories and increase muscle mass. An increase in muscle can lead to burning more calories. Sallis and Croft (2003) stated the muscle burns 50 calories and hour per 1lb of muscle. Therefore, although one may view their beginning results to an exercise program as "bulking up", in reality they are gaining more muscle, which in turn will burn more calories.
Therefore, if one is able to control their food intake and make sure they are getting the right nutrients, exercise does not make and individual gain weight. In addition, After reading your article, I found many of the points I highlighted to be wrong with the questions "Can exercise make you fat?" were also reflected in your article.
Bauer, Joy. Get the Real Answers. Parade. January 2010.
Larrson P. & Henriksson-Larsen K. (2008). Body composition and performance in cross-country skiing. International Journal of Sport Medicine.
Sallis, R. & Croft C. (2003) Pumping up walking workouts. The Physician and Sportsmedicine.