Activity for Life: More Reasons to Believe
During the weight loss process, losing more weight and reaching your goal is a major motivator to staying active. But, it’s critical to keep your routine once you’re in maintenance. Regular physical activity is a key factor to keeping the weight off.
Why does activity contribute to weight maintenance? Because activity:
● Burns calories, allowing for more freedom with maintenance food choices.
● Maintains muscle mass and preserves (or increases) metabolism, even as we age.
● Reduces stress and is associated with healthier food choices.
Beyond the benefit of weight maintenance, there are healthy gains to be made by pushing the time-intensity envelope of your activity routine. Physical activity can enhance your health and help prevent disease.
● Boost your immunity. Consistent moderately-intense activity can raise your resistance to infection by boosting levels of infection-fighting antibodies and white blood cells.
● Balance your hormones. Multiple studies suggest that moderate, aerobic activity helps relieve hot flashes and other postmenopausal symptoms.
● Manage your stress. Whether it’s an all-out cardio blast that brings a rush of energy to your system or the focused concentration of yoga that restores your serenity, regular physical activity can be one of your strongest stress-reducing strategies.
● Guard your heart. Walking helps reduce many heart disease risk factors, including lowering blood pressure, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and reducing stress. Woman who walk briskly at least three hours per week or who jog or do aerobic dance for 90 minutes per week reduce their heart attack risk by 30-40%.1
● Reduce your cancer risk. Moderately-intense activity is linked to reduced cancer rates. Vigorous activity has also been found to reduce testosterone levels, a factor in prostate cancer. Studies show that an hour a day of brisk walking can reduce risk of breast cancer by 20%.2
Living an active life has not only helped build your endurance, strength and flexibility, but you’ve boosted your inner fitness as well -- more self-confidence, a greater sense of control over your choices, and maybe even a renewed belief in your abilities and a desire to try new things. Keep it up! Remember how good you feel -- FIT on the inside and out!
1. Manson JE, Hu FB, Rich-Edwards JW, et al. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:650-658.
2. Tiernan A, Kooperberg C, White E. JAMA. 2003;290:1331-1336.