Healthy Ways to Lose Weight & The Importance of Exercise

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Diet and exercise are the healthy ways to lose weight,right? Not entirely.Exercise, in moderate amounts and at reasonable intensity levels helps us to be healthier, but it’s certainly not something to become totally infatuated with.

The idea behind getting a lot of exercise was spearheaded mostly by a man named Jean Mayer.  He noticed that people were getting fat, a problem of taking in too many calories and burning too few – or so he thought.  Instead of telling people to eat less, he put more of his focus on the importance of exercise and the link between exercise and weight loss.  I will say, if having to choose between the two, I’d definitely pick overexercising over undereating any day of the week.

However, physical activity, although a healthy, invigorating thing, will not be our salvation and is not always one of the healthy ways to lose weight.  In fact, the exercise obsession harms just as often as it heals.

The main benefits of exercise are that it helps to maintain muscle mass and it improves insulin sensitivity – which can slightly lower insulin levels and the storage of body fat.  But there are two forms of exercise:

One form of exercise I call movement.  Moving your body is a great thing.  Our bodies were meant to move, stimulating lymphatic flow, oxygenating our blood, keeping our immune systems strong, and providing a sense of calmness and well-being.  The best forms of movement are non-strenuous or mildly-strenuous activities such as walking, hiking, stretching, swimming, moderate resistance exercise, and concentration exercises like yoga, pilates, Feldenkrais, tai chi, and others.  Occasional bursts of higher-intensity exercise such as you might experience when playing sports is also great.

The other form of exercise I call exorcise.  Release those demons! No pain no gain!  Push it to the max!  Just do it!  Harder, stronger, longer, faster!  Doing overly-stimulating intense aerobic or anaerobic (sprints/intense weightlifting) exercise is much more likely to do harm than good.  Overexercising causes a massive release of stress hormones like cortisol, thought to be partly-responsible for virtually every known illness, infectious and degenerative.  So yeah, exorcise might not be the best idea, unless you are looking to develop chronic pain, chronic illness, and succumb to infectious illness more easily.  It is certainly inappropriate for someone who is overweight, which is a sign of illness, and illness is best treated with rest not torturous activity.

Specific to weight loss, cortisol, which overly-strenuous exercise causes to increase, triggers insulin resistance, in turn strengthening the “calorie greenhouse effect.”  Insulin resistance causes fat to be stored in cells instead of being available as energy, and then traps it there, causing it to accumulate.  So just as movement can improve insulin function and support a weight loss regimen, exorcise can backfire and cause you to gain weight rapidly, especially once you stop exercising – which you will, because exorcise almost invariably results in injury or burnout if you keep at it long enough.Still thinkn diet and exercise are healthy ways to lose weight?

Although exercise certainly isn’t the main focus of this site, it is important to understand the importance of exercise and how the varying levels affect your body, how you can use it to your advantage while avoiding the pitfalls, the real truth about exercise and weight loss, and how and when to implement exercise into a comprehensive healthy lifestyle.  Follow along at www.180degreehealth.com to learn these key elements of making physical activity a healthful and sustainable part of your life.

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