Last week I wrote about the importance of nutrition in achieving your fitness goals. Nutrition is HUGE. It’s so huge, in fact, that if you do not change your diet; it is most likely that you will not be able to achieve the end result weight loss goals that you have set for yourself. So you may be asking yourself right now, “What’s the point of working out, then? If I change my diet, I’ll reach my weight loss goals.” Yes, that may be true, but here’s why you want to workout. Here’s why you want to participate in regular cardiovascular and resistance training.
Are the calories worth the exercise?
Let me start off by saying that exercising DOES burn calories, but you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Let’s say, for example, that you spot some tasty looking donuts in the break area at work. It’s early in the morning, and you’re hungry. Last night was a late one, so you didn’t get much sleep. You’ve been working really hard, and all willpower is gone. You splurge and go for the donut. I’m guesstimating that that donut is somewhere between 300-400 Calories. Average Calories burned during a mile, walking or running, is 100. So, to burn off the calories from that donut, you’ll have to run 3-4 miles. Worth it? It may be, and that’s okay! That donut may not be able to be consumed daily, but you still want to enjoy the good things in life. Once in awhile is okay But it’s nice to be cognizant of our intake.
So, you can burn off extra calories by working out, but unless significant changes are made to your food intake, you may be stuck in the gym for quite some time. You should exercise for reasons outside of burning calories. Participate in regular resistance training to help develop strength and build muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, which means it requires calories to just exist on your body. Not such an amount of calories that you can eat anything, but it does burn calories. So, the more muscle tissue that you have on your body, the more calories you burn at rest. Pretty cool, huh?
Benefits of Exercise
Exercising has many health benefits such as improving insulin sensitivity, having positive effects on cholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving bone density, improving ease of activities of daily living, etc. The reason why you should add exercise to your routine is because “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” After the age of 30, muscle mass starts to decline by a significant amount if it is not used. This decline in muscle mass decreases your resting metabolism, which means we need less calories to survive. That can contribute to why we gain weight as we age: Calories burned goes down, while Calories ingested stays the same.
If we continue to lose muscle mass, the stairs become harder to climb. It’s harder to lift our body weight up the stairs. If we don’t do cardio, stairs may be difficult to climb. This is just ONE example of how a lack of physical activity can have an impact on our independence, which can build and hamper our abilities to live on our own the older we get. Have you ever seen elderly people do the “shuffle”? Exercising can help improve balance and stability. This is important in everyday tasks such as walking.
As stability and balance goes down, risk of falling increases. Have you heard of your elders falling and breaking a hip? I bet that you have. Again, if you don’t use it, you lose it. The purpose of exercising doesn’t have to be about looking like a bodybuilder. It doesn’t have to be about running the fastest mile…We should all exercise to build enough muscle tissue to sustain our lifestyle. We should exercise to keep a healthy heart….healthy bones…We should exercise to stay independent.