Saturday, July 03, 2010

There Ain't No Magic Pill - But There is a Magic Key

One of my co-workers recently asked her doctor if he couldn't get his patients to do both, would he prefer them to eat healthfully all the time or exercise consistently.

His answer?



Let's stop to consider all the health benefits exercise offers:

1) Cardiovascular strength
2) Pulmonary strength
3) Improved bone density
4) Stress relief
5) Joint pain relief
6) Disease prevention including osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer
7) Mood elevation
8) Energy boost
9) Weight loss/maintenance
10) Improved coordination

While our diet also contributes to our overall health in many of these areas, and a healthy lifestyle should include both eating well and exercise, clearly the benefits from keeping active far outweigh the benefits of a healthy diet alone.

Here's an interesting article from Women's Health Magazine that lays out the winner - diet vs. exercise - in 6 categories.

3 out of 6 were won by exercise. 1 of the others was a tie but admittedly exercise was given a slight edge.

The other 2 were won by diet.

However, I disagree that weight loss is won by diet. While it's true that calorie reduction is important to losing weight and that it's easier to cut 500 calories from the diet than it is to burn it off via exercise, calorie restriction without exercise shuts down the metabolic system causing a dieter to restrict calories further and further in order to get results. Exercise actually boosts metabolic rate for hours after a 30-minute workout allowing a dieter to eat more and still lose.

A friend of mine who has a significant amount of weight to lose (greater than 20 pounds) lamented to me the other day about how she has restricted her calories - keeping her daily intake at about 1500 calories per day - for more than 2 years. And in that 2 years she has lost no weight.

She does not exercise.

And she doesn't want to exercise. We've talked about it. I've suggested it a number of times. She has every excuse in the book why she can't/won't/shouldn't.

The fact is, and I know firsthand, exercise is THE key. The only key. And that key is available to every single person in the world.

So yeah.



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