Some people exercise for health, stress relief, or because they like it. Yet others exercise as a punishment for eating something they feel they shouldn't have, or in anticipation of a big meal. Many people don't exercise at all for a variety of reasons, including time, money, or just the fear of the getting started. Study after study shows just how immensely beneficial regular exercise and physical activity is for our bodies, regardless of weight. Each study points out that the more we move, the better off we are. Exercise lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol, decreases our chance of getting cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It helps stroke patients recover, improves mood, and helps manage anxiety.
Every system in our bodies benefits from regular exercise and physical activity. I often hear from patients that they want to lose weight first, and THEN start to exercise to maintain a certain goal weight. While understandable, as movement can be extremely challenging prior to weight loss, think of all missed health benefits! There are so many more reasons to exercise other than weight management, the benefits are endless!
Remember, exercise is whatever you want it to be. There is no rule that says exercise has to be in a gym, in a cycle studio, or even that it has to take place outside of your home. Five minutes of easy walking today, is five more minutes of exercise then you get sitting on the couch. If "exercise" seems like too much to tackle right now, try moving more in your daily activities. Are you getting up for a bathroom break? Take an extra lap around the office before returning to your desk. Are you carrying in groceries from the car? Try carrying one bag at a time to double the number of trips you take inside. Choose something that is attainable right now, but that makes you proud!
Do you need even more reasons to exercise? Check out the article below about how regular exercise and physical activity can help improve cognitive function, even with dementia.