By Erin Caraher RDN, CDN
Exercise and weight loss always seem to go hand in hand. While increasing physical activity can help you shed some of those extra pounds and keep them off, it shouldn’t be the only reason you exercise. Exercise provides the body with many benefits other than aiding weight loss. In addition, it may be frustrating when you feel like you are exercising regularly and not seeing the dramatic weight loss you may desire. This may cause you to stop your exercise routine because the number on the scale is not moving the way you want.
It’s important to exercise for reasons other than losing weight. Exercise can increase your energy level, improve your focus throughout the day and make you feel great. Focusing on these reasons alone can help with being more consistent with exercise. Remind yourself of all the positive reasons to exercise before you work out. This reminder will help to motivate you. Don’t go to the gym just to “work off” that slice of pizza you had over the weekend or that ice cream you had during movie night with your family. This habit creates a negative correlation with exercise in your brain. If exercise feels like punishment you will never want to do it!
Remind yourself that movement is key to a healthy life. You don’t have to push yourself to go to the gym seven times per week for one hour. Exercise can be hiking, going for a long walk around the neighborhood, finding a good workout video on YouTube, running around with the kids outside playing tag, lifting weights, or using resistance bands. Do your best to move throughout the day and try to aim for 10,000 steps per day!
Here are some important reasons to exercise besides weight loss:
- Increased energy
- Improved mental focus
- Decreased risk of certain cancers and diseases
- Stabilized blood sugar
- Decreased fat tissue
- Increased muscle tone
- Stronger heart
- Increased life span
- Stress reduction
- Better quality of sleep
And many, many more!
Erin Caraher RDN, CDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who works with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals.