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10 Reasons to Get Your Sweat On

Fast Company recently reported on a new University of Washington study on exercise rates and obesity.  The study showed that while the percentage of Americans doing “sufficient” levels of exercise rose between 2001-2011, obesity levels rose as well.  Only nine counties included in the study showed a decrease in obesity levels — and overall, “a 1% increase in physical activity led to only 0.11% lower prevalence of obesity.”

This is a familiar question — what impacts our waistlines more — what we put in our bodies or what we burn during exercise?  Overall data show that food moves the needle most, supporting current efforts around food labeling/calorie transparency, policy/tax changes, and food-based public health programs.  And when it comes to weight, I completely agree.

But when it comes to life, I think exercise has the potential to impact our lives more than food can.  Here are 10 reasons why:

And beyond this, in my case, exercise often triggers a positive cycle — if I’m working out more, I tend to crave healthier food and want to take better overall care of myself.  If I fall off the exercise train for a bit, my diet is likely to suffer too. They’re mutually supportive or doubly dangerous.

So if you’re purely looking to drop a dress size, cutting back on calories will likely get you results faster than pounding out miles on the treadmill.  But if you’re interested in kickstarting or maintaining broader health, bike/run/swim/box/walk/hike/kayak/SUP/ski/surf/yoga on!

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