Get Moving!

Jogging on a bright November morning

“Lose 10 lbs with zero exercise!”  That sounds like the typical weight-loss quackery that you may see on an infomercial somewhere.  One of the major causes of non-adherence to a weight-loss program is loss of motivation.  Exercise is hard work and takes a toll on the body.  Just saying the word exercise makes most of us cringe.  What habitual movers come to realize is that despite our natural affinity towards the path of least resistance, there is a point after adopting a more active lifestyle (usually after the initial soreness and shock go away) that we start to have a better subjective exercise experience.   It may catalyzed by visible fat loss, reduction in blood pressure pills, or even a 24/7 Zen-like consciousness.  The side effects of exercise are uncertain and infinate.

The unfortunate reality is that most people seldom make it past the first phase.  Whenever anybody who has been inactive for a long period of time approaches me about starting an exercise program I often shock them with my recommendation.  I tell them that they should not do any exercise for at least the first month.  It seems stupid for a personal trainer to recommend this.  They see it as if their mechanic told them not to drive their car as much so that it lasts longer.  In an attempt to recover my recently lost credibility, I further explain that exercise is defined as planned and structured activity that is done to maintain or improve physical fitness.

Exercise is only a subclass of physical activity.  Physical activity (PA) is anything that uses energy through bodily movement.  Of course there are varying degrees of energy expenditure.   The proper amount of caloric expenditure needed to result in a loss of body fat depends on how much you take in.  I am the last person to say that a proper diet is just a calorie counting scorecard (watch for my upcoming nutrition post) however, in it’s simplistic form, weight-loss only happens when we take in less calories than we use.  (Proper nutrition addresses the “take-in” side of the equation while endocrine adaptation to exercise and said nutrition addresses the “usage” side of the equation.)

A young boy, in Jakarta Indonesia, holds a tat...

So what do I recommend as the proper way to start a weight-loss endeavor?  Become a mover.  Don’t wait until you have all the designer workout clothes and fancy equipment.  Just move!

Our entire metabolism is designed to store enough energy to carry out our vital biological functions while setting aside enough to allow us to move from place to place.  If our total caloric expenditure was the size of a medium 8 slice pizza, our energy expenditure for physical activity would only be one slice.  Although its a small slice, its the only one we have any control over.  All our metabolic functions, from digestion to regeneration of your finger nails, account for the rest of the pizza pie.  The safe way to increase caloric expenditure (now that Hydroxycut is off the market once and for all) is to move more.  It doesn’t matter how you move.  You don’t have to become a runner, cyclist, rock-climber, or a Yogi.  The body will initially benefit from any increase in physical activity.  Moving is what your body is designed to do. Although it helps, you can’t just park your car further away from the entrance and expect to lose weight.  To be a mover is to make Mother Earth aware of your presence.  While you are walking from your parking spot next to the street, look for the most challenging route to take.  For me this means jumping out of my Jeep for bone density, walking the line between the parking spaces for balance, doing a pull up on a low hanging branch and climbing up on to the utility box for strength, all while walking at a brisk pace for cardio.  Of course you may elicit a few stares but hey, you are getting healthy.  Being a mover is a bit of a regression to our childhood.  It will make you feel better spiritually and physically while providing a good platform from which to launch your voyage to wellness.

Disclaimer:  You should consult your physician before starting any significant change in physical activity.  Start slow and don’t break your neck hopping over fire-hydrants.

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A senior citizen is practicing an agility exercise

3 thoughts on “Get Moving!

  1. Pingback: Pumagility for wellness « A Movers Blog

  2. Pingback: Why does my personal trainer tell me to exercise less? | A Mover's Blog

  3. Pingback: Cardiologist on exercise: “…more is not better…” | A Mover's Blog

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