The idea that exercise is the key to shedding pounds is relatively modern—and a whole lot of hogwash, Gary Taubes argues in New York magazine. Though the theory that working out makes us lose weight has been around since the 1960s, scientific research has consistently shown that the relationship between weight and exercise is spurious.
Groups that advocate regular exercise—the American Heart Association, for instance—say such a regimen is key to “promote and maintain health," but won't say it leads to weight loss. A Finnish study showed that exercise could, in some cases, lead to faster weight gain. Stick to the program, Taubes writes, but don't expect your waistline to shrink as your self-esteem expands.