Exercise is so important. We all know that, right! We also know that it is part of the weight loss equation, but I would argue that it is far from the most important aspect of weight loss – nutrition will get you a lot further toward your weight loss goals than exercise will. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying forget exercise if you are trying to lose weight, I am saying that there are more important reasons to exercise than to lose weight. Exercise is ESSENTIAL to your overall health. There is so much more to exercise than just being a weight loss tool. I over-heard a younger girl say, while chatting with a friend, “I don’t need to exercise, I am already skinny.” The statement made me cringe for so many reasons, but mostly because these two young girls (teenagers) only associated exercise with weight loss. I hope as they get older, they will understand the real reason they need to exercise.
Exercise provides us with a myriad of health benefits. Here are just a few…
- Fight off disease such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure
- Increase energy and stamina
- Increase self-esteem and self confidence
- Improve sex life
- Improves mood
- Improves sleep
I could obviously go on, but I think we are all pretty familiar with the benefits, and understand the importance of regular exercise. The challenge for many people is making sure they get out and get in some physical activity at least a few times a week. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go to the gym or run 5 miles. I don’t know how many times I have had people tell me, “I just need to go to the gym,” and then in their next breath they say, “but I hate going to the gym.” If you hate the gym, you are never going to go. There are so many different options, find something you like to do, and do it.
I personally like to go to the gym. I like the group classes, lifting weights, and using the cardio machines. I like having the time to myself and getting out of the house. I have another friend that doesn’t like the gym, he likes to go on bike rides. My dad goes to the gym in the winter to attend step class (he is really good at it) and play racquetball, and in the summer he golfs (without a cart). My neighbor learned karate, and does that a few times a week. She even earned her black belt at age 40 – awesome! My sister-in-law and her husband like to hike, and have a particular hike close to their house they go on a few times a week (in the summer). I have another elderly neighbor that gets their exercise in while working out in their yard (she claims it is what keeps her young :). The possibilities really are endless, the key is find something that you like to do, and do it!
Hopefully I don’t sound like I am too high on my soap box (I honestly don’t want to come across that way). This is just something I am passionate about. As a nurse, I believe regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and quality of life.
What form of exercise do you enjoy doing?
What form of exercise do you loathe?