Calories in < Calories Out
This is what we’ve been told for years. All you have to do is eat less, and exercise more. If it were as simple as that, people wouldn’t struggle to keep weight off after they lost it. A lot of people count calories and still struggle with their weight. So what gives? The truth is, all calories are not created equally.
500 calories of fried chicken does not have the same effect on the body as 500 calories of broccoli. Not only would you have to eat a lot more broccoli to get to 500 calories, but what is contained in those calories is very different. The chicken is full of proteins and fats along with some minerals and other nutrients, while the broccoli is mostly carbs, minerals, and vitamins.
You could go into a whole host of questions when analyzing the chicken; what type of oil was used to fry it? Were antibiotics used in raising the chicken? Was it cage free? Was it fed GMO’s? It then becomes pretty clear that what we eat plays just as big of a role in losing weight as does how much we eat.
If you are doing everything right, but still can’t lose weight, I suggest making an appointment with our office to discuss potential toxicities and hormone imbalances.
Brain Benefits of Exercise
Since we focus on the brain and nervous system in our office, we will start with some of the benefits of exercise on the brain. Exercise has amazing impacts on the brain!
Move it or Lose it!1 A study compared people who exercise vs. couch potatoes, and the results were amazing! Exercisers displayed better long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem solving, and also scored better on fluid-intelligence tasks. Conversely, current research also shows over-exercise actually causes an inability to learn.
Improved Intelligence.1 Researchers at the Pasteur Research Institute in Paris, France found that simple movements stimulated the formation of new axons in the brain. And, other studies have shown the number of axons directly correlates with your level of intelligence. Children who exercised at least an hour a day performed better on intelligence tests than their inactive counterparts.
Exercise increases brain volume5 in a region called the hippocampus (responsible for memory formation). Researchers followed people over 20 years and found that people who stayed in shape were more likely to have larger brains. Typically, our brains shrink as we age, and this atrophy is related to cognitive decline and increased risk for dementia. Exercise helps keep our thinking abilities sharp and clear!
Exercise increases levels of neurotransmitters.3 Exercise raises brain levels of dopamine (reward neurotransmitter), norepinephrine, and serotonin (good-mood neurotransmitter). It also raises levels of endorphins which increase blood flow to the brain. According to McGovern, “These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain, and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.” This is what causes the so-called “runner’s high,” and it can make exercising addictive.
How to Exercise1 – In order to receive these brain benefits of exercise, it must be:
- Aerobic = Nonstop
- At least 12 minutes
- Exercise the lower muscles of the body
- Be at a good pace = Your pulse should be 50-70% of your heart rate max (220 minus your age)
- Heart Rate Max for a 20 year old would be 200 (220 – 20 = 200)
- Multiply this by anything between .5 to .7 depending on how what your goals and capabilities are
Other Benefits of Exercise2
- Increased Life Expectancy (U.S. study quantifies the effects of exercise on life expectancy4
- Weight Loss
- Increased Blood Flow to Brain
- Increased Energy
- Improved Sleep
- Fall Prevention
- Better Reaction Time
- Decreased Risk of Diabetes
- Improved Mood
- “Exercise has been found to be just as good, and in some cases, even better than medication at relieving depression.”6
- Increased Bone and Muscle Strength
- Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis
- Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Improved Cholesterol and Triglycerides