It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.
For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉
I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…
I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land. I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha
And can I take a moment to say thank you?
However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write. I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.
I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.
Now, where was I?
Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.
It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.
All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.
Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”
I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.
I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.
Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.
I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.
Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.
It’s just not.
Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more. Exercise can just support those efforts.
Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉
In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.
Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body. For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.
Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.
Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.
Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.
I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….
It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.
Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.
It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.
It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.
Is that enough evidence for exercise?
Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.
Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.
It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement. So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.
What exercise has taught me
ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and then start doing “something”.
I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.
I did it enough it turned into a new habit. One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…
Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.
That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.
When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.
I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.
Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing. This translates far beyond what I do on the road.
The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.
Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.
I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor. My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”. So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉
I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.
It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of. I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically
Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.
So yeah, you do need to exercise
So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on. Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.
And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.
Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?