Written By: Emma Squillace
Of course you know that exercise is a good way to burn calories – but you also may have heard that there’s almost no way for exercise to make you lose weight without the necessary diet changes. What you consume in terms of calories and nutrition will always be more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight. While that may sound like a reason to put exercise lower on your priority list, that’s not the case. There are substantial health benefits from fitness other than simply burning calories.
Exercise has been shown to both lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol. This means you’ve got a double benefit for your heart health. In addition to helping lower cholesterol, exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure – even when we’re at rest. So getting half an hour of exercise into your day can benefit you 24/7. Finally, exercise builds muscles. This is a direct heart-health benefit because stronger muscles are better at taking needed oxygen from our blood. This lets our hearts have a break by not having to work so hard.
If you have diabetes, a study from Johns Hopkins brings good news. Their researchers found that weekly brisk walks, treadmill or biking sessions, in combination with strength training, “may cut levels of fat in the liver by up to 40 percent in people with diabetes.” Patients with diabetes will also appreciate that exercise improves the body’s insulin sensitivity and usually lowers blood sugar. For people who are worried about developing diabetes, exercise is also beneficial. Moving more has been linked with lower risk of both prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.
Whether you want to keep your healthy joints at their best, or are suffering from pain or arthritis, exercise can help. For people with arthritis, exercise has been shown to increase range of motion and decrease pain. When we move more, the fluid that cushions our joints is distributed more easily. Some joint damage is a reality of getting older, but exercise helps because our movement improves circulation. This increase in circulation allows damaged cells to be cleared from our joints. At the same time, circulation brings more oxygen and nutrients to the joints, encouraging repair.
More energy, better mood
When you move, your blood flows more easily. This can give you an energy boost because we need oxygen circulating well in our bodies to feel most alert. So if you think you’re too tired for exercise, imagine that your body is actually going to wake up because of it. You don’t need an intense workout for this benefit; try starting with a 20-minute walk and see how you feel. Exercise has also been shown to increase the brain chemicals that make us feel happy. And the benefits extend longer than you may think. While a session of exercise can improve how we feel in the short term, exercise has also been linked to long-term improvement of depression.
Exercise alone is unlikely to lead to substantial weight loss, but there are so many health benefits to getting regular movement into your day. Often times, even making good eating choices combined with increased movement does not lead to the weight loss people seek. If you’re trying to lose more than 30 pounds, there are treatments available to help you find success. You can speak to our supportive team by calling 855-690-0565.