One of the most common complaints from many clients is they just don’t like to exercise. It’s inconvenient, it’s awkward, it’s ... sweaty (especially their hair). They’d rather just cut calories, often through super restrictive dieting and detoxes. Which, we know, can’t last and often lead to rebound weight gain.
Folks will debate “dieting” vs. exercise til they are blue in the face, but research shows that even if you eat too much to do you good, exercise will help. One recent study suggests that going from no exercise to some exercise (say, walking briskly for 20 minutes) a day could lower your risk of death. Not disease or disability. Death.
The benefits are not just about weight and waistline; here are other reasons to work out:
Fewer infections: Moderate exercise boosts your immune system. Studies show that people who exercise catch colds less often.
Great sex: Aerobic activity increases blood flow, enhancing your libido. Stretching, yoga and strength training keep you agile and flexible, affecting the intensity and quality of doing the do.
Protection from cancer: Studies have shown that no matter their weight, people who increase their physical activity can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent compared to those who don’t exercise. Physical activity recues breast cancer risk in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Beat stress: Regular aerobic exercise helps reduce stress hormones and promote endorphins, those feel-good hormones. And for some who battle depression, exercise has been proven to be as effective as antidepressant meds.
Slow down aging: Increasing aerobic activity can shave years off your age. One study of highly fit older women and men showed that they had younger people’s levels of balance, reflexes, metabolic health and memory ability.
Mental sharpness: Aerobic exercise increases a protein that’s key to brain health. It contributes to the brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and develop new ones.
Deeper sleep: Get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, and you’ll enjoy better sleep and feel more alert the next day, one study showed. That is, unless the person you’re sleeping with has apnea. In which case you need to get them on your program. Exercise combats that too.
You don’t have to be a gym rat to get your workout on. Go take a walk – just do it double time. And then reap some of the rewards above. Did I mention great sex? Now that's worth workin' up a sweat.
Photo illustration from blackwomendoworkout.com