The Importance of Exercise

One of the top questions I get asked is, “What is more important - diet or exercise?”  So I thought I’d address the topic of food vs. exercise today.

Honestly, food is everything.  Eating a really clean diet made up of whole foods, where you incorporate a wide variety of vegetables and fruits every day, combined with some clean organic protein, whole grains and healthy fats is ABSOLUTELY KEY.  Our bodies need the vitamins and minerals that we get from these foods.  And to be healthy, we need to stop ingesting all of these fake, processed products and chemicals that our bodies don't recognize, and end up rejecting (think allergies and headaches) or storing as fat.

Clean eating can change your life, and help you to avoid serious health conditions down the road (ranging from high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, heart failure to cancer).  It’s also the best way to heal yourself from these conditions.

But that said, our bodies need to move!  It’s a given!  Some form of exercise should be practiced by everyone in some way, shape or form EVERY DAY.  In order for all of our organs to function properly, physical activity is required.  And when something goes wrong and you get sick, physical activity is key to getting yourself healthy again.  As quoted by one of my favorite holistic gurus, Kris Carr, “The body heals eight times faster when you exercise regularly”.

In case you’re not aware, I want to share with you some of the BENEFITS OF EXERCISE, which include:

-Controls weight

-Improves digestion

-Decreases inflammation

-Lowers blood pressure and arterial stiffness

-Improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces risk for Type 2 diabetes

-Reduces osteoporosis (and helps avoid it)

-Improves balance, coordination, and flexibility

-Reduces joint stress and back pain

-Keeps your heart healthy, decreasing incidence of heart disease

-Decreases liver steatosis and fatty liver disease

-Enhances quality of sleep

-Increases energy, and reduces risk of depression, anxiety and stress

So now that it's CLEAR that we all need to be exercising, what next? How do we start making it a part of our daily lives?

Firstly, experiment!  I find that many people struggle to find something they enjoy.  They force themselves to the gym, but its a struggle.  So what I tell people is, find the type of physical activity that works best for you.  It doesn't have to be going to the gym.  You can start by walking daily for 30 minutes if you enjoy walking.  Or try running, biking, yoga, high intensity workouts, etc, and see what you enjoy.  And try to combine different things to keep it interesting.  For ex., yoga twice a week, spinning 3 times a week, and then on the 2 ‘rest” days, make sure you do some walking (do your grocery shopping by foot for example).

Secondly, prioritize!  Most people find it hard to fit exercise into their schedules.  They complain that they don’t have the time.  But its about making it a priority, and scheduling it into your day (and once you found what you like, it becomes easier!).  

And lastly, I'll tell you that the secret to a successful exercise routine is accountability.  Set up a goal system to track your progress.  And maybe find a friend (or a trainer) to help keep you in check.

So start experimenting, find that friend that will accompany you and hold you accountable, and make it a consistent routine.  You’ll see that it becomes second nature.  And you’ll fall in love as you begin to see the changes in your body, mind and spirit.  (That’s what happened to me with my yoga and barre classes at Exhale, I’m addicted - in a good way!)

The ability of our bodies to move is amazing, so go out and there and use your body!!

Love and Movement,