Why exercise alone may not lead to weight loss

Don’t exercise to lose weight!

  • When it comes to exercise, we have to have a reason besides weight loss in order to want to workout
  • Exercise serves as a natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant
  • Exercise is a great way to reduce the risk of having blood sugar issues

          We all know someone who just seems to have the discipline to workout daily, someone who makes zero excuses and shows up every day to sweat for at least 30 minutes. And you wonder, “Why can’t I do that? Where is my motivation?” Odds are that this type of person has many reasons to exercise, and I’d bet the number one reason is not weight loss.

The thing is, when it comes to exercise, we have to have a reason besides weight loss in order to want to workout. Weight loss as a motivator is great, but it can’t be the sole motivation. Weight loss is more dependent on the food we eat, and even though exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, it won’t automatically lead to weight loss.

There are a plethora of benefits when it comes to exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss, and when we start to see exercise as a part of our lives and not just a means to an end, that is when habits change and motivation kicks in. Here are some benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss!

Exercise serves as a natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant. It releases endorphins which can raise moods and help you feel happier and lighter. Of course, everyone is different, but many studies suggest that exercise can relieve anxiety and depression temporarily, and these benefits are even more beneficial when exercise is done regularly.

Exercise can strengthen our bones and muscles. Exercise builds our muscles by actually tearing them down and helping them rebuild after a day of weight training or weight-bearing exercise. These movements not only strengthen muscles, but bones as well!

Exercise can help you stick to your healthy eating plan. Exercising can provide the right mindset to stick to your plans. Often, we fall off our eating plan at the slightest temptation. But what I have found in my clients is that, if they have exercised that day, they are more likely to resist the cookies and treats at work and feel more determined than ever to reach their goals.

Exercise boosts energy.

I know this seems counter intuitive, but expending energy can actually increase our energy levels! Many people assume they will just tire themselves out if they exercise. But on the contrary, exercise invigorates us and gives us more energy because it helps our body deliver oxygen all over the place! This way, our entire body is getting a source of energy that can last all day and help us feel vibrant and energized.

Exercise can reduce your risk of diabetes. Exercise makes our insulin more sensitive, which helps insulin bring glucose into the cells more efficiently, thus reducing the likelihood of high blood sugars on a regular basis. We want our insulin to be as sensitive as possible, because sensitive equals efficient, which means glucose gets cleared from the blood efficiently and quickly, thus reducing our blood sugars back to normal after a meal. Chronic high blood sugars are so detrimental to health, and exercise is a great way to reduce the risk of having blood sugar issues.

When we focus on non-weight loss benefits of exercise, while keeping our weight loss goals in mind, we have a more well-rounded and balanced view of exercise. Exercise does not have to be done for the sole purpose of burning calories. It can be done to experience all of the benefits above, and any others you may personally experience! So today, decide to go out for a brisk walk, take a class at the gym, or meet a friend to play basketball, because any activity will give you long-lasting benefits that will improve your health and quality of life. Get moving!

Sources:

http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=1

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm#StrengthenBonesMuscle

About the author

Tveen Verano [MPH, RD] is a registered dietitian nutritionist from Southern California. She is currently working as a renal dietitian and has a private practice as a registered dietitian and online wellness coach. Her passion for nutrition and real food drives her to keep up with current research and provide relevant and applicable information to the public to help stop the trend of obesity and provide vitality and health to everyone.

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