During the winter time, particularly after the Holidays, many people look at their expanded waistlines and proudly announce they are going to "hit the gym" to work off their extra pounds. There's ample evidence to suggest that this isn't necessarily the best practice, because the human body has a way of slowing down metabolism past a certain threshold of physical activity.

According to a study done recently at the City University of New York, which involved 300 men and women, the human body tends to adapt to higher levels of physical exertion and thus lowers metabolism, burning fewer calories.

In the study, which was published in the journal of Current Biology, researchers measured daily activity levels of subjects and found that those who performed mundane activities like walking to work and a few trips to the gym burned approximately 200 calories more per day than those who performed no activity at all. However, the most physically active in the study group burned no more calories per day than those with moderate activity levels.

What is N.E.A.T.?

What makes this so? It all comes down to N.E.A.T. (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is the energy a person spends that does not involve exercise, eating or sleeping. N.E.A.T. increases with over-eating and decreases with under-eating.

Modest physical activities have been known to increase metabolic rates substantially, and such activities have a cumulative impact. So it would certainly seem that sitting less and standing and walking more would lead to at least modest increases in calorie-burning; no marathon running needed to burn off those extra pounds.

Long story, short summary: it seems doing significantly more physical exercise burns no more calories than moderate exercise---over the long haul. This explains why many exercisers hit a plateau when pursuing their weight loss goals after several weeks or a few months into their exercise regimens.

In a world where losing weight and looking younger is very much the rage, and none other than media mogul Oprah Winfrey can cause Weight Watchers stock to rise, this study can be very disheartening.

But don't stop working out, because if do, (and if you're a woman) you won't stand a chance of looking as good as fashion model Sherita Moss!

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