What are the benefits of exercise?

Have you ever wished there was magical pill that could increase your IQ by 20 or 30 points? Many Americans are aware that exercise results in important health benefits, such as an increase in muscle mass and cardiovascular benefits. This is certainly true. But, what many people do not know is that the physical health benefits of exercise are vastly overshadowed by the far more important mental enhancements. These include increased IQ and brain function, decreased age related cognitive decline, and increased mood stability. In fact exercise is at least as effective at treating depression and anxiety as the best pharmaceuticals available. These powerful cognitive benefits have led Harvard neuropsychiatrist John Ratey to make the surprising statement in his book Spark, “keeping your heart and body in shape is just a side [effect] to exercise’s major effects on the brain… you have power to change your brain. All you have to do is lace up your running shoes.”

Does exercise produce weight loss?

While exercise has many health benefits, when used by itself exercise without other modifications does not result in significant weight loss. This may be disappointing to some, but this does not mean that we should abandon exercise. When used in conjunction with appropriate dietary modification or bariatric surgery, exercise can work to produce powerful weight loss synergy. In addition to its direct synergy with healthy dietary choices, exercise indirectly enhances motivation, may suppress appetite, and enhances the good decision-making ability that is needed to consistently make the other daily choices essential to optimizing weight loss.

What is the best exercise for weight loss?

The best exercise for weight loss is any consistent daily exercise that is combined with accompanying changes to a person’s diet [link to nutrition page]. If you enjoy running, swimming, basketball, or hiking then your favorite exercise is the one you are most likely to consistently use and is therefore the best weight loss exercise for you. There are two categories of exercise: aerobic and resistance. Aerobic exercise is very important to weight loss because this form of exercise burns calories. Resistance exercise is also very important because resistance activities, such as weight lifting, build muscle which increases the size of your calorie burning engine. The result is that larger muscles burn more calories.

Therefore, building an activity plan that incorporates both forms exercise is important to maximize your weight loss potential. One study also showed that when at least 5 days of aerobic exercise are used in conjunction with at least 1 day of resistance every week, there is a greater trend toward weight loss as well as control of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Finally, the length of exercise is also important. One study found that at least 150 minutes of exercise per week (or 30 minutes per day 5 days per week) was needed in conjunction with dietary changes to begin to stimulate weight loss. Do you have physical barriers to activity that make exercise feel challenging or even impossible? At LiveNew we work closely with exercise physiologists who use their expertise to help those who struggle with significant barriers to activity find safe and effective methods to regain the capacity for exercise.

If you would like to enhance your physical and mental health by building an exercise plan, then reach out to us and LiveNew today!

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