Here’s a good reason to stop dieting forever and start hitting the gym: When it comes to obesity, physical activity is more important than what you eat.
New research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found a drastic drop in physical activity nationwide, especially among young women, and an increase in average BMI (body mass index). Despite the decrease in cardio, calorie consumption has remained steady over the past two decades, tipping us off as to why obesity rates in the U.S. continue to rise.
Don’t run off to the gym (with plans to get froyo after) just yet!
Nobody is saying counting calories isn’t important. The study simply explains that, without adding physical activity to your weight loss plan, or health goals, all that conscious—choosing a side salad over fries, getting a water instead of a coke—could be for nothing.
Think of it this way: If those of us sitting in office chairs all day aren’t going to the gym or doing bodyweight exercises on the side, we won’t build any muscle, which helps boost metabolism and burn calories, even at rest. So even if we still eat a steady, healthy diet with the same amount of calories everyday, those calories won’t be burned off anytime soon, adding pounds. And when you factor in desk snacks, the scenario only gets worse.
There’s no concrete evidence explaining why women are spending less time at the gym or sweating on their own. But a valid reason could be the demands of work and a crazy busy schedule. Take time to add working out to your daily planner. Can’t find the time? Schedule it in place of your next happy hour.
The only reason I even work out is so that I can factor more burritos in my diet. So if you’re still struggling for motivation, just think about Chipotle (or your favorite food).
Just don’t go overboard (I settle for the burrito bowl, sometimes). Healthy eating combined with exercise is the best thing you can do for your body, especially if you’re looking to lose weight.
Need somewhere to start?
For a simple-ish fitness challenge you can do at home, try this 30-day ab and squat challenge! You can fit it in at home, at the gym, or even at your standing desk.
(Image via Shutterstock)