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Exercise won't make much difference to your employee's health

The health pages of all of the major media outlets have gone into over drive in the last week about the report into weight loss and why scientists now believe that exercise plays an entirely trivial role in it.

The report was published as an editorial in the British Medical Journal and the content appears to be based on sound research.  But is this story really credible and accurate or have the findings been sensationalised (much like the headline I used for this article!)?

The trouble with the report is that it is easy for a journalist to twist the findings and write, “Exercise – what a waste of time?  I knew all that sweating couldn’t be good for you!.”  At Healthy Performance, we read behind the report and it is definitely not time to throw in your gym towel just yet.

Just to be clear, the report clearly states that exercise is still good for you but when it comes to weight loss, employees must address their diet as a matter of priority. Exercise will have a comparatively small effect so, the idea of earning your snack whilst working hard in the gym just won’t work.

What was encouraging about the editorial was that it was calling for a change in the public health message.  The report calls for the messages to focus on sugar and high carb diets.  The idea that it’s fine to eat lots of high sugar products if you burn off those calories with exercise has been one of the root causes of the rise in obesity over the last 30 years, according to the report.,

There are a couple of two key points that we bang the drum for at Healthy Performance,

Regular exercise makes it easier to stick to new, healthier eating habits.

In the same way that you might go on holiday and don’t exercise for a couple of weeks, your nutrition often goes out the window.  Every time you train, it’s like a psychological reminder that you’re making positive changes.

As a health and wellbeing company, this report makes things easier for us.

It is certainly true that you can lose weight with absolutely no exercise whatsoever.  If you have weight to lose and manage to stick to pretty much any diet you’re going to drop pounds.  But by relying on the scales and prioritising weight over everything else it can become unsustainable and miserable.  What is required is a balanced plan to make sustainable health and wellbeing choices – whether this is personally or across your organisation.

It is true that you can’t out train a bad diet, but equally you can’t out cook poor fitness. At the end of the day, no amount of fruit and vegetables are going to give you that ‘high’ feeling of having just completed a work out.

If you need a hand with making some healthy switches in lifestyles for your employees then please feel free to pick up the phone and chat with us in the HP office.  We don’t preach or encourage particular diets or lifestyles and we won’t try and sell you a health and wellbeing service that has no relevance to your business.  We always take a consultative approach to any organisation’s health requirements and we can help you implement some no or low cost options.  

You can email us at or please call 0844 432 5849 (HEALTHY).

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