As mental health professionals, one of the things that we are always encouraged to prescribe our clients is exercise. Exercise is fantastic! In fact, one of my dear friends who happens to be a Psychiatrist told me that she believes that if everyone exercised – the drug companies would be out of business.
However, as a professional treating eating disorders, discussing exercise tends to be tricky… my clients tend to feel shame over not exercising enough, the belief that they have to exercise every single day to lose weight, or they fall into overexercising or compulsive exercising to deal with anxiety or shame.
Exercise is great! But it won’t help you lose weight. Although it’s always been considered the golden standard of weight loss (eat less and exercise more) the more recent studies show that exercise is an ineffective weight loss strategy.
However, there are a million benefits to exercise that are not weight loss related.
21 AMAZING NON WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS OF EXERCISE:
- Increases your libido and gives you the stamina to enjoy and have sex more
- It is a natural anti-depressant because it increases serotonin production and decreases depression
- It reduces your risk of diabetes by pulling sugar (glucose) out of your blood stream
- Exercise helps you to manage anxiety
- Reduces your risk of heart disease
- Makes you stronger
- Increases Your Lifespan
- Boosts HDL cholesterol
- Increases Your Energy
- Helps You Sleep deeper and decreases insomnia
- It gives you a break in the day and much needed “me time”
- It decreases symptoms of PMS including cramps, mood swings and bloating
- It sharpens your mind
- It gets you high on endorphins (feel good chemicals in your brain)
- Reduces breast cancer risk
- It increases your positive body image
- It decreases your risk of Osteoporosis
- It increases blood flow and sweating which detoxifies you and in turn give you glowing gorgeous skin
- It decreases risk of Alzheimer’s.
- It decreases stress and increases your overall sense of peacefulness
- Decreases binge eating episodes which can often be a symptom of stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, panic, and overstimulation (all things that exercise decreases).
How to start? Don’t think of it as something you have to do, or you should do– think of it as something that you get to do and something that will help you just feel better. It doesn’t have to be every day, and it doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. You don’t have to be training for a marathon, you can do a different form of exercise every single day or every few days to get these benefits. You can jump on a trampoline, go swimming, climb trees, go for a hike (either urban or on a trail), jump rope, do yoga, go out dancing or dance alone in your room, go for a walk with a friend, watch a Netflix while you walk or jog on the treadmill– just do something that is fun, try to move your body — movement is amazing medicine your soul, your body and your mind.