We’ve all probably walked or driven past someone who likely has a weight loss goal, grinding out a run–guessing of course at the runner’s motivation by the look on her face, which doesn’t look like she’s having fun. We hope for that runner’s sake that she knows that running (and exercise generally) is not the primary strategy for losing weight and that she’s out for the run because she actually does enjoy it, even if it doesn’t register on her face!
There’s a fairly well-know saying in the fitness world that “you can’t out train your diet.” A similar saying says “you build abs in the kitchen.” For those trying to lose weight, eating choices are by far the most important factor. Not to say that there aren’t many wonderful, proven benefits to exercise, but the fastest, most reliable route to a healthy weight is establishing good, healthy eating habits. We also typically find that, once a person establishes a pattern of healthy eating, his or her energy and motivation to exercise naturally increase. So as a general rule, we want you to focus first on healthy eating and then add in exercise if you are not already exercising.
So what can regular exercise do for you? Well, it depends on several factors, such as the type and how much (which we address in a later post), but generally, a regular exercise routine can do a lot to improve your quality of life, including
- Improved strength and endurance
- Reduced injury and sickness
- Looking and feeling younger
- Performing your favorite activities at a higher level (especially as we age)
- Improved brain function
Because there are so many proven benefits, as soon you are ready for it, we highly encourage you to start an exercise program or review and improve on your current routine. Keep in mind that not everyone is ready for any or every type of exercise, so it’s important to be realistic and also consider the risks–consult with your physician before getting started.
In this section we look at different types of exercises and discuss how good of a fit each is (or isn’t) for you and your health and fitness goals.