It’s Not About Being Fat – Why Exercise Matters

You may have read a post or heard me say that exercise is not about weight loss. I say that a lot because it is a common myth. If you have significant weight to lose, exercise — no matter how much — will not get you to your goal. Weight loss is about food and hormones. Exercise can aid in your weight loss indirectly, but the theory of calories-in-calories-out is a myth.

That doesn’t mean exercise is unimportant. Here is why it is VERY important.

Using an evidence-based approach, the landmark Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Exercise (1996) identified numerous chronic diseases and conditions whose risk increases among people lacking in exercise or physical activity.

The American College of Sports Medicne (ACSM) has also published guidelines and position statements.

It’s now accepted that exercise limits disability and improves outcomes for many diseases and conditions, including cardiovascular, skeletal muscle, and pulmonary diseases.

Diseases and Conditions Related to a Lack of Exercise include:

  • Cancer (breast, colon, prostate)
  • Cardiovascular disease (coronary artery, peripheral vascular, cerebral vascular)
  • Falling
  • Frailty
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Non-insulin dependent diabetes
  • Mood and mental health
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overal mortality
  • Premature Mortality
  • Sarcopenia-related functional loss

The ASCM Position Paper on Exercise for Older Adults

View the entire statement here.
Although no amount of physical activity can stop the biological aging process, there is evidence that regular exercise can minimize the physiological effects of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle and increase active life expectancy by limiting the development and progression of chronic disease and disabling conditions. There is also emerging evidence for psychological and cognitive benefits accruing from regular exercise participation by older adults:

  • A combination of aerobic exercise training and resistance exercise training activities seems to be more effective than either form of training alone in counteracting the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the health and functioning of the cardiovascular system and skeletal muscles. < A VARIETY OF MODALITIES IS MORE EFFECTIVE THAN DOING ONE KIND REGULARLY.
  • Although there are clear fitness, metabolic, and performance benefits associated with higher-intensity exercise training programs in healthy older adults, it is now evident that such programs do not need to be of high intensity to reduce the risks of developing chronic cardiovascular and metabolic disease. However, the outcome of treatment of some established diseases and geriatric syndromes is more effective with higher-intensity exercise (e.g., type 2 diabetes, clinical depression, osteopenia, sarcopenia, muscle weakness). < HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING IS FANTASTIC FOR SOME CONDITIONS BUT MODERATE-INTENSITY HELPS TOO.
  • The acute effects of a single session of aerobic exercise are relatively short-lived, and the chronic adaptations to repeated sepersonal-training-coralville-ACSMAllianceWebIDssions of exercise are quickly lost upon cessation of training, even in regularly active older adults. < CONSISTENTLY TRAINING WEEK-AFTER-WEEK IS IMPORTANT
  • The onset and patterns of physiological decline with aging vary across physiological systems and between sexes, and some adaptive responses to training are age- and sex-dependent. Thus, the extent to which exercise can reverse age-associated physiological deterioration may depend, in part, on the hormonal status and age at which a specific intervention is initiated. < NOT EVERYONE RESPOND THE SAME
  • Ideally, exercise prescription for older adults should include aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening exercises, and flexibility exercises. In addition, individuals who are at risk for falling or mobility impairment should also perform specific exercises to improve balance in addition to the other components of health-related physical fitness. < FUNCTIONAL EXERCISE THAT FOCUSES ON BALANCE AND COORDINATION IS HELPFUYL FOR MANY ADULTS AS WELL

Visit the ASCM for all their position statements.

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