Exercise benefits the heart even when it doesn't shrink the waistline: a new look at fitness and fatness from the Harvard Health Letter

Exercise is good for the heart even when it doesn't seem to be doing anything for the waistline. The reverse is also true: losing weight can help the heart even when it isn't getting the daily activity it needs, according to the July 2012 issue of the Harvard Health Letter. Many people equate exercise with weight loss. If they start exercising and the scale doesn't show an improvement right away, they tend to quit. Knowing that their workouts are good for the heart even if the extra pounds are stubbornly sticking around can help motivate them to stick with an exercise plan. In response to a major study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. I-Min Lee, an expert on the health benefits of exercise at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, advised the Heart Letter that weight loss isn't always a given among people who exercise regularly. Some people have a harder time dropping excess pounds. If exercise isn't translating into weight loss, take a look at calorie intake. "It's because the calories you take in exceed the calories you expend," says Dr. Lee. "If you want to lose weight, you can either exercise more or eat less—or do both."
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