Exercise and eating well – a couple things that make us look and feel good. It’s universally agreed that these two things have the potential to help us:
- reach an optimal body weight
- decrease bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol
- reduce general crankiness/put you in a better mood
- prevent and reverse some diseases
- reduce inflammation
- improve sex life
- build muscle/lower body fat
- improve bone density
- look younger
- significantly reduce stress
- live a longer quality of life
- improve sleep
Given these benefits, why, oh why wouldn’t everyone exercise and eat better? It’s true, from time to time we might be too busy, or not able to choose the healthiest foods – but those reasons are the exception. The main reason people don’t exercise or make healthier choices is because they get caught up in their own inertia.
An object in motion stays in motion. It’s easier to exercise after you’ve started a routine of working out regularly. It’s easier to choose healthy food from the produce aisle after you’ve made a few trips (and become familiar with the healthy foods you enjoy). Regarding exercise, a study at McMaster University revealed that by removing a gene in mice that controlled an enzyme turned on during exercise, they stopped running. Nope, we’re not mice, but we do have the enzyme called activated protein kinase (AMPK) in our body. This enzyme plays a crucial role in the regulation of mitochondria. In a nutshell, mitochondria are the energy factories for our cells. Mitochondria increase with exercise, thus regular exercise makes exercise easier - and probably more enjoyable.
Tips to Start Exercising and Eating Right
- Write down your goal: Make a list for the grocery store, write a week’s worth of workouts in a calendar, jot it down on a piece of paper and stick it on your refrigerator – just get something down on paper, on your computer, in your phone – anyplace you can see regularly.
- Tell friends and family: Letting people know not only builds a support system, but makes you more accountable. If you miss a workout, or day of eating right (hopefully) someone will call you out on it (in a loving way, of course)!
- Get through the first few days: When it comes to eating right, getting through the first few days is critical. Cravings, emotional eating and bad habits in general can take over, so be prepared. When it comes to exercise, getting through the first few minutes is critical. Even the best of us have days where we feel “out of shape,” making exercise challenging. Push through it. Don’t let the “beginner” or “starting over” factor stop you. Your health is too important.
McMaster University. “Couch potatoes explained? Missing key genes may be cause for lack of resolve to exercise, researchers find.”ScienceDaily, 6 Sep. 2011. Web. 9 Sep. 2011