Science stems from observing our reality and then questioning it, with each wrong assumption tested we get closer and closer to the truth. From starting with very simple observations we can see that healthy people have multiple factors keeping them well, including taking regular exercise, not smoking, strong social connection, good sleep, avoiding drug use, and so on. When we are trying to look at which is the most important of these, we look at the biggest problems. With regards to health, raised body weight is the biggest problem for society ‘at large’. There are lots of negative repercussions that stem from being heavier than nature intended us, which I won’t go in to here.
A raised body weight is clearly a problem of diet, not exercise. This is simple cause and effect. Starting with very simple logic, if you don’t eat you can’t gain weight. Many people who maintain a normal body weight throughout life are active, but do not explicitly exercise regularly. Babies don’t hit the gym, yet some are overweight – you can’t infer from this they need to do some more pushups and ‘sweat it out’. We have all seen young and active adults who are partaking in recreational sports who are overweight, so we know the presence of exercise alone doesn’t mitigate the effects of a poor diet. No, put simply, being overweight is combination of genetic susceptibility and too many calories in the system. This is only a very quick (and far from bulletproof) argument, which is introducing the idea of deducing from our observations in order to draw conclusions on health.
If we get into the numbers (as we do in our video course) on how much energy you take in through diet or use through activity, we can explain in more detail how obesity happens, and what roles diet and exercise have.
Dr Nick Wright