From both physicians and fitness gurus, the mantra for effective weight loss is the same: diet and exercise. And we’ve all had friends who gushed about starting a modest walking program, for example, and saw themselves drop unwanted pounds.

All this flies in the face of the math of exercise. If you’ve ever watched the calorie counter on your treadmill or Stairmaster, you know how painfully slowly the “calories burned” number climbs. A vigorous session may burn only a few hundred calories – an amount that could be consumed in a minute with a rich dessert. Not to worry, we’ve been told – even after you stop your workout, your body’s metabolism remains in high gear for many hours.

Now, researcher Edward Melanson, an exercise physiologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver, has shown that the supposed long-term metabolism boost doesn’t really happen. But, before your cancel your gym membership, there may be a way that exercise does help you lose weight, even if it’s not the mechanism promoted by fitness experts for years. First, the bad news: […]