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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why Bother with Exercise If It doesn't Help Weight Loss?


Seriously - why bother? The reason many people exercise is to help with weight loss. We've been programmed for the longest time to believe that weight loss and exercise go hand in hand. I remember when I was a young girl, I enjoyed swimming in the town public pool where I took swimming lessons. Typically those lessons occurred in the latter part of the afternoon. The water was somewhat cool and it was cool outside. I found after every swimming lesson I ate way more than I did on a non-swimming day. I remember that fact to this day. Only now do I understand that exercise quite often stimulates appetite. The problem is although we burn calories when we exercise and we must in order to lose weight, exercise often stimulates ravenous hunger. This negates almost all our efforts to lose weight via exercise. People spend as much money sometimes going to a gym or dance classes or whatever as what they spend on groceries. However, are they losing weight? Oftentimes not.

Does this mean we should not bother with exercise? Well consider this:

People who regularly exercise are at significantly lower risk for all kinds of diseases, such as heart disease, especially. They are less likely to develop cancer, diabetes and many other illnesses, because the immune system is stimulated and stays healthy and the cells of the body are more sensitive to the action of insulin. Even simple walking - like 30 minutes a day is beneficial. Having a dog really helps with that!

From a pure vanity standpoint: Exercise helps tone and strengthen muscles, giving definition to the body. Flabby bodies are less attractive than toned ones (even if one is overweight) and take up more space in clothes anyway. Have you ever heard of the term "skinny fat"? - a person who is skinny but still has too much fat vs muscle. They still don't look too great even although they are skinny.

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