Moving is essential

Published 4.27.2017
I'm still messing around with how my writing here will be organized, and I think that exercise or movement is important enough to warrant its own heading.
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I've written previously about why it's a good idea to stay away from doctors who discount the importance of movement. Well, here are a few more reasons that exercise is important.

Please note: I'm using the word exercise, but what I really mean is movement. If you walk regularly that is movement, and it's essential for health. If walking isn't possible for you, then whatever means of moving your body you can do can fit the bill. Regular movement is essential to health.

Exercise keeps the mind sharp. Exercise improves the cognitive abilities of the mind, even when evidence of decline exists. Don’t stop moving if you want to age well.

The article states that the physical activity doesn’t have to strenuous, walking is fine, as is T’ai Chi. If walking or T’ai Chi are beyond your capabilities, then find something that you can and will do. Just as with diet, exercise (movement) only works if you do it routinely. No expensive gym membership required.

Disclosure: I do currently have a gym membership. As I noted last June, I joined with a friend, who after about a month stopped going. I planned on quitting the membership when the year was up, but then my husband chose to join in February. So I now I go to the gym with him because if I didn’t then he wouldn’t. I’m just happy he’s agreed to commit to regular exercise twice a week.

In my view, all types of movement are better than not moving, but aerobic and strengthening are both beneficial to long term health.

The older you are the more important mevement is. Use it or lose it. Stuffing massive amounts of fat down your gob won’t make the difference, but exercise can. Take that, Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra.

Even more evidence that Aseem Malhotra and Yoni Freedhoff and are wrong, wrong wrong when they in any way discount the benefits of exercise. For readers who may be unaware of these two doctors(!) stance on exercise, both have made it a point in the past year to emphasize that exercise is not a way to lose weight.

While it is true that most people will not lose weight solely by increasing their physical activity, it is not true that weight can't be reduced with exercise. It is true that cutting intake is the easier route for most people. The admonition, after all, is "eat less and move more."

Want to maintain lean body mass when dieting or as you age? Move! Exercise while restricting calories leads to greater fat loss.

In the end, as always, it comes down to the energy balance and adherence. There are multiple terms in the energy balance, but the two that can be most easily manipulated are ingestion and physical movement.

Physical movement, at least as I view it, includes all movement— including for me standing while working. Standing expends more energy than sitting, and when standing most people tend to move around. That should be obvious, but if you read much about standing desks online, you soon realize that this is not always obvious.

As for adherence, if you aren't eating in a way that you can maintain for the rest of your life, then it really doesn't matter if it's low carb or low fat, you won't stick with it.

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