Thursday, March 21, 2019

3 reasons to start working out and NONE of them are weight loss!

Exercise and movement have so many benefits that it’s a shame we tend to focus only on losing weight. Exercise has a positive impact on literally every system and organ in the body including the heart, muscles, brain, and lymphatic system! In fact, we are so connected and dependent on movement, that in biology the ability to move is a characteristic necessary to classify an organism as an animal!

Although weight loss can be a driving force for many to start a workout regimen, it can also be a hindrance when our quick (and sometimes unreasonable) weight loss goals aren’t met. Unfortunately, for most this causes them to stop working out all together, and then their whole body is worse off for it. If this sounds like you, I can assure you that there are so many reasons to keep moving in your life! Hopefully learning about some of these will help you shift focus during exercise and will keep you on the right path toward health and wellness!

Reason 1: Self Care

Now-a-days self care has become synonymous with meditation, Netflix binging on your couch, or visits to the spa for a Swedish massage. While all of these have their place, your body craves movement more than anything to take care of itself.

Movement pumps blood to all areas of the body. Blood contains nutrients from food intake which helps the body rebuild and repair damaged tissue...which to me, sounds an awful lot like self care!

Movement also promotes release of endorphins (or endocannabinoids, research still out on that one!) which leads to feelings of euphoria and increased positivity!

Movement also forces fluid into joints, lubricating them, which allows for pain free movement within the joint. Movement is the only way that your joints can self care. The blood supply is very low in tight areas of the joints, and the pressure created by movement literally forces nutrients and fluid into the joint. Thus, allowing the joint to perform self care.

Reason 2: Detoxification
Let’s be honest, we all know this isn’t a real thing, right? The body naturally removes “toxins” from itself. You literally have an organ devoted to this (the liver) and a whole system that is constantly battling against foreign invaders (lymphatic system). If we need to actively do something to “detox” our body why don’t we stay drunk for days after a night of drinking?

The closest thing to detoxification that I know of is movement! Movement requires energy. To produce energy, the systems in our body have to start using what’s around and available. Stored carbohydrates and fats will be thrown into the gas tank and burned for fuel to produce movement. Unlike a juice cleanse, a method of “detoxification” through movement WILL actually lead to depletion of substances in your body.
Movement can also create sweat. Although sweat is 99% water and is not a way our body excretes “toxic” substances, it does have a cooling and refreshing effect on our body. This release of water and salt can also decrease bloat which is what is happening in most people when they go on a “detox”. Finally, movement has euphoric effects that can make us feel lighter and airier instead of sluggish and weighed down - two of the top reasons people feel like they need to do a detox!

Reason 3: Wakefulness
It is pretty well known that movement can make you feel alert, awake, focused, and more energetic! Movement increases wakefulness (the time consciously awake solving life’s problems) by increasing blood flow, increasing oxygen transportation, increasing hormone transportation, and putting the body into a anabolic state to promote growth after a hard workout! There are a number of studies that show exercise can increase working memory, mood, and alertness. It also will help with better sleep and circadian rhythms, making sure that when you’re awake, your wakefulness is on point!

Self-care, “detoxification”, and wakefulness are all things to keep in mind when you’re starting a new exercise routine. It is helpful to write daily notes about how you’re feeling before, during, and after exercise. Specific notes on how exercise makes you feel will be motivating when you look back at them and see how far you’ve come.

Sure, weight management is important but weight is primarily dictated by nutrition NOT exercise. Shifting focus toward other reasons for working out will help you keep a healthy habit going over the long run.

Stephen Cornely
FB: Triad Wellness Philly
Insta : @stephenjcornely

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