Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Why workout?

Due to a combination of lack of time, lack of sleep, and feeling somewhat under the weather, I've not been to the gym in a whole week.

This is pretty unusual for me but totally necessary to avoid inducing a full-blown cold!

Not going to the gym at all does make somewhat anxious in terms of not gaining weight, but already my appetite has adjusted downwards and as I follow my appetite I'm eating much less accordingly. Hot doc on the other hand has started cycling to and from work and consequently has developed a huge appetite and a need for two dinners!

If any of you have read Gary Taubes 'Why we get fat' you'll already be well versed in how your appetite adjusts to what you eat and therefore, unless you totally ignore your appetite and follow a calorie controlled diet, in the long-run exercise doesn't actually determine your body fat levels.

For others of you this may come as a surprise - but logically if you exercise alot your body will compensate by demanding more fuel. Obviously if you exercise more and don't eat more you will lose weight but in the long run your body will adjust and burn less calories.

If this is true then why should we exercise?

- to develop muscle tone and build muscle strengh, this is important for posture, injury prevention, bone protection (strong muscles help prevent breaks) and of course vanity - however thin you are if you don't work out you won't look good naked!

- to help balance blood sugar levels - muscle works as a store for fast sugars, storing them as glycogen, so if you have larger muscles and also workout reducing your glycogen stores then if you eat sugary foods, more sugar will be moved into your muscles helping regulate blood sugar levels

- for cardiovascular health, being thin does not protect you from having a heart attack - everyone needs to do cardiovascular exercise to keep their heart healthy

- immunity and detoxification, your lymphatic system moves toxins and immune cells around the body, but it has no pump so lymph fluid relies on muscle contractions to move it round the body where it is needed - the more active you are the quicker your immune cells get to where they're needed and the quicker toxins are cleared. Plus exercise raises your basal metabolic temperature which activates immune cells helping kill off more bugs

- finally for your sanity, exercise is a great mood moderator and outlet for nervous energy, plus endorphins from a 30mins+ cardio workout leave you feeling great


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