Why Physical Activity is More Important Than Exercise

Written by JJ Smith, #1 NY Times Bestselling Author and Weight Loss Expert

Posted December 3rd, 2011 under Physical Activity

There are many types of physical activity. Exercise is just one type of physical activity where you set aside a time to go work out or move your body. Exercise, which has some good health benefits, is when you set aside time for physical activity that increases your heart and lung activity while also strengthening your muscles and joints. However, physical activity is actually any kind of movement. It can be big or small movement, but it is anything that gets you on your feet and moving your body. Our goal is for you to be physically active throughout the day, even if you never go to the gym to exercise or work out. The good news is that even a minimal amount of physical activity goes a long way toward improving your health and meeting your weight-loss goals. Your goal is to move from being physically inactive to more physically active until your overall fitness level improves. You don’t have to be a gym rat or bodybuilder to maintain a moderate or acceptable level of fitness.

Being physically active keeps your blood flowing and your heart pumping and keeps your mind sharp as oxygen flows to each cell in your body. Physical activity keeps your metabolism revved up throughout the day. Additionally, your muscles allow glucose (the primary source of energy from carbohydrates) to be better utilized, which will help prevent blood sugar and insulin spikes. Physical activity has also been known to improve insulin function in the body, which is especially helpful for those who have insulin resistance. A short daily walk has even been proven to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other diseases.

People tend to greatly overestimate how many calories they burn while “exercising.” The reality is that walking on a treadmill for about an hour burns only 350 to 400 calories, which can be nullified with one jelly donut or one or two glasses of wine. People typically burn 200 to 300 calories in a 30-minute aerobic-exercise session, but when they follow it up with a bottle of Gatorade, they replace all the calories they just burned. Another way to think of it is that you have to do a lot more exercise than the average person does in a typical hour-long session to burn off about 500 calories. To burn off just two donuts, about 500 calories, takes roughly two hours of cycling. To burn off two slices of pepperoni pizza, you’d have to do one and a half hours of swimming. So you have to do an awful lot more exercise than most people realize to make any real progress toward weight loss.

In my new book, Lose Weight Without Dieting or Working Out!, I provide scientific studies that show how exercise doesn’t always cause you to lose weight. In fact, in some cases, it stimulates hunger and causes you to gain weight. For some time, researchers have been finding that people who exercise don’t necessarily lose weight. An increasing body of work reveals that exercise is rather ineffective when it comes to losing weight unless eating habits are also changed. Changing how and what you eat is the most effective route for losing weight. So, practically speaking, exercise is not the most effective method for slimming down unless you have the training regimen of an Olympian or professional athlete.

I definitely don’t want to give people an excuse to not exercise; rather, I want them to accurately understand what exercise can and cannot do for their weight-loss goals. Those of you who do exercise should be proud of yourselves, and I encourage you to keep it up. When you get more physically active, you feel better about yourself and feel more inclined to watch the type of foods you put in your body. One of most popular chapters in my new book is “Get Moving Without Going to the Gym or Working Out.” This chapter helps you incorporate more physical activity into your everyday life.

JJ Smith (www.JJSmithOnline.com) is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at info@jjsmithonline.com and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ