For those considering starting exercise, try looking beyond weight loss for motivation. No matter your weight, there are always benefits to exercise.
Exercise changes our body composition – how much fat we have as a ratio to how much lean (muscle) tissue we have – but this doesn’t always cause big changes on the scales.
Here are some ways exercise improves our health, no matter how much we weigh:
Better cardiorespiratory fitness with less Weight
Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of how far and hard you can run without needing to stop, or how many stairs you can climb without being out of breath. Running for longer, or climbing more stairs, means you have a higher absolute cardiorespiratory fitness which cannot be improved with weight loss alone.
Lowered risk of heart disease and stroke
Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, even in those with a chronic disease such as diabetes, irrespective of body fatness.
Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure, improves delivery of blood throughout the body, and reduces inflammation, even in those with a high body mass index.
Reducing the ‘bad’ fat
Exercise improves our body’s ability to use energy. We store large amounts of energy as fat, which is quite hard to break down, as it costs a lot of oxygen compared to “cheaper” fuels for the body to use like glucose.
Mental health benefits
Preventing weight gain
While exercise may not help us lose a lot of weight on the scales, it’s a good way to keep weight off and prevent weight regain.
Regular exercise continues to encourage the body to use stored fuels and remodel tissues (such as muscle) to grow healthier and stronger.