Beyond Weight Loss: The Impact of Exercise

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It’s time to stop looking at exercise as a weight loss tool and to start looking at it as a quality of life tool!

A top reason people give for engaging in exercise is to lose weight. And frequently people quit exercising because their time and effort (and sweatiness) yield only small losses. It’s pretty easy to out eat an exercise session. Sometimes people rationalize extra food simply because they worked out. Imagine burning 200 – 400 calories in a gym workout and undoing that calorie deficit with a single stop at your local coffee shop or with a few extra bites of food at each of your three meals. Boosting your physical activity may help with weight loss, but it rarely does the job alone. For weight loss, most people find diet rules.

There are plenty of other reasons to exercise regularly. Some are benefits that you can see and feel, but others are hidden or seen only with specific lab work. One thing is certain, however, moving more boosts quality of life.

Here are some things exercise can do for you. Exercise…

  • Improves insulin resistance for 2 – 72 hours. So now you know that with every single bout of exercise you are doing yourself some good.
  • Lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood sugar levels
  • Decreases your risk of cancers of the colon, breast, and endometrium
  • Tamps down low levels of chronic inflammation
  • Helps prevent heart disease
  • Helps you manage stress and boosts mood
  • Aids sleep
  • Helps you keep lost pounds from coming back
  • Strengthens your bones and helps prevent low bone mass
  • Helps prevent injury

These are just some of the perks of being physically active. Instead of looking at exercise as a means of managing your weight, view it for what it really is – one of the most important things you can do for your body, mind, and wellbeing.

By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND, CHWC

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