I’ve written extensively about this in The 21-Day Exercise Challenge; if you’re set on losing weight, exercise is going to be an integral part of your plan.
Exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to take control of your health, improve your appearance, your immune system, your sleep quality and mood, your strength and your ability to make and achieve goals.
While it’s possible to lose weight on a calorie deficit alone, you will have much greater success combining that with an appropriate exercise routine.
Waaaah! Why can’t I just diet and forget about the exercise part? For pretty much the last few decades, it’s been acceptable (for women especially!) to just eat less to lose weight and …well, that’s all really. Since the focus was on appearances and not health, it didn’t really matter if you were “skinny fat” or had poor muscle definition.
Thinking of exercise as unnecessary or as a chore is kind of sad. Here you are, inhabiting a beautiful and vibrantly alive body, and you begrudgingly take it to the gym to pound away at a treadmill for a bit before putting it back on the couch for the rest of the day.
You could totally be one of those people who eat 1200 calories a day and sit behind a desk all her waking hours …but you shouldn’t. Here are some reasons exercise makes more sense:
- Exercise builds muscle tone, and more muscle mass means you have a higher metabolism and therefore can enjoy more food, obtain more nutrients and burn the food you do eat more quickly.
- Exercise boosts blood flow and this, together with increased muscle mass, means you age more slowly, have healthier skin, better digestion, better cognitive function and mood.
- A toned body (as opposed to just a skinny one) is stronger, more dynamic and more resilient to infections and injury.
From today onward, try to incorporate more physical activity into your life. I’m not talking about joining a gym that you know you’ll never go to even as you’re signing the contract. I’m not talking about forcing yourself to run like a rat on a treadmill. I am talking about moving your body in any of the millions of ways it likes to move.
So, how does your body like to move? Why not try:
- Hiking, climbing trees, trail running, walking in the park
- Swimming, aquarobics, diving
- Track sports, sprinting, archery
- Rock climbing
- Taking a bike ride through the city
- Playing with children
- Horse riding, playing in the park with your dog
- Football, tennis
- DIY, home improvements or woodworking
- Yoga or Pilates
The best exercise is the kind of activity that is indistinguishable from a hobby or anything else that you do because you like to do it. Thais way, exercise is not some extra chore you have to add onto your life, it is your life.