Reframing the Why Behind Exercise

After the indulgences of the holiday season, it’s common among many adults to take a beat in January and make a plan to eat healthier, drink less, and get more exercise.  Although regular activity is vital to protect physical function and help prevent chronic health conditions, exercise alone is unlikely to help you lose significant weight.  But by reframing the “why” behind exercising, and understanding the many benefits to overall health, adults will be less likely to quit exercise programs and put their weight loss goals in a separate category. 

According to a recent Inc. Work-Life Balance newsletter, recent research has found that although weight loss can reduce mortality risk by 10 to 15 percent, exercise is associated with a reduction in mortality risk of between 15 and 60 percent.  Physical activity can help prevent chronic health conditions and in turn prevent early deaths.   Exercise is also linked with a boost in mood, and improved memory and cognitive skills.  Exercising can also help people manage stress and maintain physical function, an important factor in remaining independent in older age. 

Mindset is so important to how we look at our lives and the choices we make each day.  Recognizing exercise as a lifestyle choice that offers many benefits, rather than a singular goal of weight loss, is key in helping to create healthy habits that stick.  People who exercise regularly sleep better, have stronger bones and muscles, experience less depression and anxiety, and have reduced rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. 

Losing weight is also greatly beneficial to overall health and wellbeing.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars.  Weight loss can also boost energy levels, mobility, and self-confidence.   But eating habits are the key to sustainable weight loss – “weight loss happens in the kitchen, and fitness happens in the gym”. 

Not only is what you eat important to achieve weight loss, people who want to lose weight must also pay attention to portion size.  Measuring a portion size of cereals or grains, nuts, or lean protein will help ensure you are getting the right balance of nutrients and calories as part of a healthy diet.   Not sure what to put on your shopping list for a healthier pantry?  Check out shopping tips by VeryWellFit here, and start building a better diet that will support a healthy lifestyle.