THE BLOG
01/05/2015 04:12 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2015

Breaking the Link: Exercise and Weight Loss

Let's address a common myth about exercise (physical activity) and weight loss.

Myth: Just be more physically active, exercise a great deal, and you will lose all your desired weight.

The 80/20 rule dispels this myth, I believe 80 percent of weight loss is achieved by decreasing what and how much you eat, and 20 percent of weight loss is due to physical activity and exercise.

I recommend viewing physical activity and exercise as a way to improve your health, and dramatically reduce your risk for so many diseases, such as;

Diabetes

In the "Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes" article by Harvard School of Public Health the authors state:

Although the genes you inherit may influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they take a back seat to behavioral and lifestyle factors. Data from the Nurses' Health Study suggest that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes in women can be attributed to five such factors: excess weight, lack of exercise, a less-than-healthy diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol.

High Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association's Prevention and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, Step 5: four of the eight main ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure are, "eat a better diet, which may include reducing salt; enjoy regular physical activity; maintain a healthy weight; manage stress."

Heart Attacks

The American Heart Association also shares that there are "major risk factors that you can modify, treat or control by changing your lifestyle or taking medicine."
According to the American Heart Association:

An inactive lifestyle is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The more vigorous the activity, the greater your benefits. However, even moderate-intensity activities help if done regularly and long term. Physical activity can help control blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, as well as help lower blood pressure in some people.

Stroke

There is an entire website setup entitled Power to End Stroke to explain that you are the power and answer the question: "What stroke risk factors can I control?" According to the Power to End Stroke, "You can change many conditions through diet and exercise. Others may need medication. Your best defense is knowledge."

Breast Cancer

Prevention magazine shared an articled called "A Free Way To Help Prevent Breast Cancer," in which they stated:

For years, health scientists have linked physical activity to lower breast cancer rates. New research from two US universities may finally explain exactly how exercise protects you from one of America's most-common cancers.

Studies:
1) University of Minnesota study coauthor Mindy Kurzer, PhD, Professor of Medicine
2) International Journal of Cancer as part of the Women's Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences (CARE) Study

Prostate Cancer

The Harvard Medical School publication 3 ways exercise helps the prostate (yes, the prostate) says:

The prostate is can be a troublesome little gland. It is prone to painful infections and inflammation (prostatitis), enlargement that interferes with urination (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), and cancer. Prevention is the best medicine, something exercise can help with. Exercise has also been shown to help treat various prostate-related conditions.

Alzheimer's

The Alzheimers Association Research Centre provides information about Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia through physical exercise and diet.

Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain Because of its known cardiovascular benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable part of any overall wellness plan.

I believe, physical activity (5,000 to 10,000 steps per day) and exercise (cardio and weight/resistance training) will significantly improve your energy, sense of well-being, sleep, and yes, it will also help with weight loss.

"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity." -- John F. Kennedy

We all know that we should be more physically active and do more exercise! So why doesn't everyone do it?

The most common reason that I hear is not enough time!

"Life gets in the way," we all have very busy lives.

I recommend following two simple rules:

1. Book an appointment every week in your calendar (30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercise, three to four times a week) Do what you like and ideally find an "exercise buddy."

2. Never cancel that appointment.
These two simple rules have resulted in many people exercising regularly and sticking to it. In my opinion, it is better to begin by just doing it. Don't worry about how many days in between, or time of day, just do what works for you each week.

Everyday Physical Activity:
If we become more mindful every day, we can truly increase our physical activity quite easily. Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Park your car at the back of the parking or a block away from your destination
  • Get off the subway or street car or bus one or two stops earlier and walk the rest
  • Walk up escalators instead of just standing on them or use the stairs
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator when possible
  • Take a walk at lunch time or after dinner
  • Take short two to three minute walks throughout your day
  • Never use drive-thru, walk into and out of the store
  • Go for a bike ride

These are just a few suggestions, being mindful daily will permit you to come up with all kinds of creative ways you can increase your physical activity.

As winter is approaching in northern countries, outdoor activities frequently diminish for many. I recommend thinking about outdoor activities like snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, skating, walking with appropriate foot wear and clothing.

Also, winter is a good time to join a community center, or a gym for a few months. One can use the treadmill, bikes, and elliptical machine or attend an aerobics or spinning class. If you have a machine at home, then winter is a great time to use it.

I would also recommend getting a pedometer, and try to work up to 5,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

The Power of Moving. You will be surprised how much more energized you will feel. (Your health will be better and it does help with weight loss as well.)