Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How Important is Exercise??

So I've been reading a lot of articles lately about the importance (or lack there of) of exercise. It seems that some studies say exercise is very important, others say diet is more important. I think what all researchers agree though is that exercise is necessary but how much and how often is the question.

Remember it used to be suggested 30 minutes a day three times a week that was enough? Well clearly that did not help stop obesity rates from soaring. Now the CDC is suggesting the following for adults:

Adults need at least:
walking 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and
weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
jogging 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and
weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
walking jogging An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and
weight training muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

For "greater" health benefits they suggest 500 minutes a week of exercise! So that number has increased greatly over the years...but lets face it America has a lot of excess calories to burn!

The how and why of weight loss is pretty simple burn more calories than you take in and you're going to lose. So exercise works hand in hand with diet:

The mathematics of weight loss is, in fact, quite simple, involving only subtraction. “Take in fewer calories than you burn, put yourself in negative energy balance, lose weight,” says Braun, who has been studying exercise and weight loss for years. (Source: New York Times)
But the same article says that women's bodies are prone to want to maintain fat stores! Because of... you guessed it, reproduction. Ugh it's always an uphill battle for us isn't it ladies...Essentially, when we exercise we want to eat more! And I know this is true I was just complaining about my appetite when i'm at my most active. In spring and fall when I'm working out 6 days a week playing lots of soccer I'm always hungry!! This must be why:

A study that Braun oversaw and that was published last year by The American Journal of Physiology had a slightly different outcome. In it, 18 overweight men and women walked on treadmills in multiple sessions while either eating enough that day to replace the calories burned during exercise or not. Afterward, the men displayed little or no changes in their energy-regulating hormones or their appetites, much as in the other study. But the women uniformly had increased blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin and decreased concentrations of insulin after the sessions in which they had eaten less than they had burned. Their bodies were directing them to replace the lost calories. In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote. In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.

But this doesn't mean you should throw your hands up in the air and say it's impossible for you to lose weight because your body wants you to be curvy with a little too much junk in the trunk. Just because things are the way they are doesn't mean it's the way they have to be! It will take work but Exercise is STILL incredibly's proven that exercise helps keep the pounds off!

In one representative experiment from last year, 97 healthy, slightly overweight women were put on an 800-calorie diet until they lost an average of about 27 pounds each. Some of the women were then assigned to a walking program, some were put on a weight-training regimen and others were assigned no exercise; all returned to their old eating habits. Those who stuck with either of the exercise programs regained less weight than those who didn’t exercise and, even more striking, did not regain weight around their middles. The women who didn’t exercise regained their weight and preferentially packed on these new pounds around their abdomens. It’s well known that abdominal fat is particularly unhealthful, contributing significantly to metabolic disruptions and heart disease.

Scientists are “not really sure yet” just how and why exercise is so important in maintaining weight loss in people, Braun says.

I hope you're not scratching your head saying well great I have to lose the pounds first before I start working out to maintain the loss.... Not true! You should start a routine as soon as possible... this Harvard study shows that at a molecular level people who exercise show more metabolic evidence that their bodies are burning fat... so essentially if you think dieting alone will help you lose weight think again!

These findings suggest that exercise has both “acute and cumulative” effects on your body’s ability to use and burn fat, says Gregory Lewis, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an author of the study. After only 10 minutes of exercise, even the least fit showed evidence that their bodies were burning fat; the more fit, the more metabolic evidence of fat burning.
The researchers then took a number of the metabolites that had been elevated by exercise and infused them into mouse muscle cells in a laboratory dish. Almost immediately, the metabolites, in combination (but not individually) ignited a reaction that resulted in increased expression of a gene involved in cholesterol and blood-sugar regulation. In other words, the metabolites weren’t just marking activity that was happening elsewhere in the body; they also may have been sparking some of that activity directly. (Source: New York Times)
If for no other reason exercise because it makes you feel better!! I guarantee you this is true!! I always feel better about myself after I exercise. If there is a time where I'm feeling down, where I'm doubting myself and starting to feel fat and lazy exercise yanks me right out of that mind set. I always say I NEVER regret exercising...EVER! How many of us can say the same about eating a few cookies??

How Exercise Combats Anxiety and Depression from the MayoClinic:
Exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:
  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects
Exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits too. It can help you:
  • Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
  • Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
  • Get more social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
  • Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms.

Want to read more?? Check out these articles:

A Work Out for Your Blood Stream
- New York Times

Weighing the Evidence on Exercise - New York Times

Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Eases Symptoms - Mayo Clinic Online

p.s. The world cup is now winding down.  I was pouting and throwing a fit like a two year old when my German Boys lost today...they worked so hard and played so well for so long!! But such is the luck of the game it only take one goal to make a difference...and seven Spanish players playing defense. *grumbles* Now I'm going to go pout again. I'm muttering this under my breath right now:

Stupid Spanish team,Stupid La Liga players...even though I love you FCBarcelona and Charles Puyol I'm a fan of the German team and they deserved to win they proved to have better defense with less men playing back but that fucking undeserved yellow card on Muller made a big difference and I want to see Klose beat the record for most career goals in the world cup...Stupid Spanish!

*end grumble*

1 comment:

Dangrdafne said...

Out of every word in this post this hit me the hardest and should be posted everywhere:

"I always say I NEVER regret exercising...EVER! How many of us can say the same about eating a few cookies??"

It is PERFECT!! Well said and everyone should hear it. Great job!