We all know that when we own a dog we must walk them daily or they will be unhealthy and unhappy. Everyone knows that. But yet for some reason, we don’t treat ourselves as well as our dogs, we don’t think we need a daily bit of movement or we will be unhappy and unhealthy. So whilst we all know being active is good for us in theory up to 80% of children and adults don’t actually go anywhere near enough. What many people I see don’t seem to appreciate is how big a role it is playing in their overall health and happiness which I cover in detail in another course called “The foundations to health and happiness” course.
Though specifically for weight loss the basic scientific premise is that losing weight is more effective if you add in more movement in both the short and long term for a number of reasons.
When you exercise you burn energy and calories to do it. Sadly though the truth is exercise doesn’t burn that much. For example, 10,000 steps = ~400-500 cals/day, 45 Minutes of back to back bodyweight exercises burns 500 calories; Interestingly this is same as cleaning the house for 2 hours; so if you turn on your favourite music and have a groove you can burn heaps of calories. Gardening for an hour and a half hours or 40 Minutes of rock climbing can also do it. So whilst you don’t burn a lot, there are many ways to do it to explore what you find enjoyable.
When you exercise you change you the composition of your body – you reduce fat and increase skeletal muscle – which increases your basal metabolic rate, which is what we talked about earlier as being the biggest way to burn calories by doing nothing. So that is a big positive.
it has a big range of other benefits on your body and mind. For example, being active is an extremely effective treatment for reducing our cravings and helping to improve our emotional health. It helps depression and lack of motivation, as effective as psychotherapy and medication, so the more you do the more motivated and less depressed you become, which also helps in your weight loss journey. The regular movement also gives us energy to do more for ourselves, seriously exercise is one of the most natural highs you can get. When we exercise we release endorphins. Endorphins are our naturally produced internal morphine, we feel light and happy, and pumped and energetic, we feel strong, and at a biological level, all of this is true.
And finally, it can be a social activity. It does not have to be if you like to exercise alone sometimes that is fine. But generally when you agree to be active with someone then they can motivate you when you are feeling a little lazy and you can motivate them when they are being a bit lazy. The evidence has shown that those who decide to change a habit, losing weight, moving more, eating better – get better results than those who go it alone.
So not only does it help us lose weight, but it also reduces the barriers to this process and make us feel better overall. It is a must to include.