Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: Exercise will help you keep your brain in shape 

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Let me be honest, I’m not a big fan of exercise. I let myself do pushups and squats on a daily basis, and while I like brisk walks, I never enjoy running.

The main reason I stick with it is because of the overwhelming evidence of the many benefits that exercise brings. In fact, the latest research suggests it may be even more beneficial for maintaining a sharp memory than suspected.

But for those who spend a lot of time running on treadmills or road biking on their stationary bike in hopes of burning a lot of calories, there’s bad news.

Because a new study shows that exercise is even less effective at helping people lose weight than we previously thought.

We’ve known for a while that exercise alone isn’t the best way to lose weight. That’s mainly because people overestimate the number of calories they burn while exercising (by as much as three- or fourfold, according to at least one study).

Let me be honest, I’m not a big fan of exercise. I let myself do push-ups and squats daily, and although I like brisk walks, I never enjoy running

And they underestimate how many calories are in the snack with which they reward themselves after a run.

In fact, the calories burned through exercise are surprisingly modest.

A few years ago I had my calorie burn accurately measured while running. This was done using a mask attached to a device that measures how much oxygen I consumed and how much carbon dioxide I exhaled.

The test showed that I burned about 120 calories per mile when running and about 60 calories per mile when walking.

Which means if I were to eat a muffin (about 400 calories) to burn those calories I would have to run a little over three miles or walk four miles, which would take about two hours. But it turns out those calorie burn numbers are hopelessly optimistic.

The findings of the new study show that over time, your body makes up for the extra calories you burn from exercise by slowing down your metabolism.

Yes, down, don’t accelerate. This is the exact opposite of what we have been told to believe.

They underestimate how many calories are in the snack they use to reward themselves after a run.  In fact, the calories burned through exercise are surprisingly modest

They underestimate how many calories are in the snack they use to reward themselves after a run. In fact, the calories burned through exercise are surprisingly modest

The assumption has always been that if you exercise more, your metabolism speeds up. While this may seem true in the short term, it is not in the long term. The new study, from the University of Roehampton, looked at data collected by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Scientists there had accurately tracked how many calories more than 1,750 volunteers burned during their normal lives. What the Roehampton team found was that while people expend more calories when they exercise, their bodies simply make up for it by burning fewer calories than they normally would from things like sleeping.

It found that the calories used to maintain their bodies (known as basal energy expenditure) decreased by 28 percent during periods when they exercised regularly.

Which in turn means that the overall impact on our waistlines from doing exercise is less than we expected.

A few years ago I had my calorie burn accurately measured while running.  This was done using a mask attached to a device that measures how much oxygen I consumed and how much carbon dioxide I exhaled.

A few years ago I had my calorie burn accurately measured while running. This was done using a mask attached to a device that measures how much oxygen I consumed and how much carbon dioxide I exhaled.

There was especially bad news for those hoping to lose weight with exercise, as the effect is even greater in overweight or obese people.

This latest study found that if you have a higher BMI (body mass index), only half of the calories you burn while exercising translates into true calorie loss at the end of the day.

In other words, if you’re overweight, you’ll burn far from 120 calories per mile, but once you measure the impact running has on lowering your metabolism, you’re really only burning 60 calories.

Depressing, yes, but this is no excuse to hang up your running shoes.

There’s a lot of research showing that staying active will add healthy years to your life, reduce your risk of developing a range of chronic diseases, help you sleep better, improve your mood, and even brighten up your sex life.

Being active is also good for your brain.

A recent study by scientists at the National Institute on Aging, published in the journal NeuroImage, found that regular exercise leads to the production of new brain cells, particularly in the area of ​​the brain associated with memory, which hopefully means less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

So keep exercising, but don’t expect it to make much difference if you’re on the scale.

As I get older, I look more and more like my father. He was a nice man, but not very healthy, and I sometimes worry that I inherited some of his dodgy genes.

So I was relieved to see that a recent study concluded that while the genes we inherit have a powerful influence on our risk of getting a wide variety of diseases, from heart disease to type 2 diabetes and cancer, their influence diminishes as we become older.

For this study, researchers at the University of Oxford used genetic data from more than 500,000 Britons and looked at how their genes affected the chance of getting sick.

They found that the impact of many of the genes, especially those linked to conditions such as high blood pressure, skin cancer and an underactive thyroid, faded over time.

Exactly why this happens, and why it affects some diseases more than others, is still a mystery.

But I hope this means my current healthy lifestyle will come on top.

The real risk of eating that hot dog

Recently, my attention was drawn to a headline that claimed, “Eating a hot dog can take 36 minutes of your life.”

This came from a study from the University of Michigan, USA, where they worked out the health impact of eating one serving of more than 5,800 foods.

One of the examples they mentioned was hot dogs, which they said had 36 minutes less life expectancy. But on the plus side, eating a small handful of nuts can add 26 minutes.

But how do they get these numbers? I delved into other research, which found that eating one serving of processed meat daily is associated with a 15 percent higher risk of “all-cause death.” In other words, your risk of dying in the coming year is 15 percent higher if you regularly eat processed meat than if you don’t.

If you do some clever calculations, that translates to about 36 minutes shaved off your life for every hot dog you eat.

Whatever you decide or not is a good reason to leave hot dogs alone.

I’m not sure about the accuracy of these numbers, but I like the approach of trying to make the relative risk of eating different foods a little clearer.

Sir David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge, has further developed the idea with something he calls “microlives.” This means estimating how much a particular activity will add or take away from your life.

Based on studies, he calculated that smoking two cigarettes, drinking two alcoholic beverages, eating a portion of processed meat, being 5 kg overweight or watching two hours of TV a day will save about 30 minutes of your life.

But taking a statin can add 30 minutes, while doing 20 minutes of moderate exercise daily will add an hour. Even better, if you get your five-a-day, this can add two hours.

What I’m inferring from this is that if you’re on a good diet and staying active, eating a single hot dog is unlikely to make much of a difference to your life expectancy.

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