I'm all for it!
The "What, Me Exercise?" chapter in the Hacker's Diet explains -- and I can agree on some level -- that exercise alone won't solve a weight problem... or at the very least, you shouldn't be adopting exercise with the sole goal of getting thin without considering other things. A solid one-hour walk, non-stop, will burn barely more calories than a peanut butter sandwich. I'm not saying don't walk -- I'm saying cutting out the sandwich will have about the same impact on weight loss, and walking plus sandwich-not-eating gets double the bang.
So, why exercise? Here's what I understand, without having to look it all up to convince myself:
- Resistance training builds muscle.
- More muscle means more metabolic activity, so you can burn even more calories even when you're sleeping.
- Resistance training builds strength. It's good to be strong so you can handle daily activities better: lifting heavy boxes of kitty litter, hauling furniture, getting your ass off the couch, etc.
- Resistance training fosters a healthy skeleton. Put stress on your frame and your frame gets stronger in response. It's nice to head into old age with properly calcified bones!
- Losing weight through dieting can sometimes be taxing on the muscles, as the body breaks down body tissue for energy. Regular training keeps the body in muscle-building, not muscle-eating mode. (Is that anabolic vs. catabolic, or am I just full of words I don't quite understand today?)
- Vigorous exercise works your heart and lungs, making them work more efficiently. Hard things become easier, and easy things become, like, soooo easy. Going up stairs may still make your heart beat fast and your lungs huff and puff, but you'll recover more quickly.
- Training your muscles regularly makes them more efficient. The blood will flow in and out of them more easily. They won't get as sore.
- Muscles look good. It's good to look good. Good things are good. Good.
- It's simply good to *do* something! Exercise often involves *doing* something. Maybe something social, maybe something solitary, but you're doing something!
- People who exercise tend to live longer. Sure, you might drown while swimming or get hit by a car while jogging, or get divebombed by a crow while cycling, but those are exceptions.
- A well-trained body will be more resistant to injury. And with more well-oxygenated blood flowing through your deliciously efficient circulatory system, you'll recover more quickly if you do get injured.
There's probably more to say, but I hope you get the point -- the point is, I get the point that exercise is important. Even if it's not the key to losing weight, the two surely go hand in hand. If you're trying to lose fat, one can assume that you're also trying to get healthier overall, and there's no arguing that exercise is important to overall health.
On that note, I gave my overall health an overall step-forward leading-leg roundhouse kick in the ass last night. I returned to taekwondo on the hottest night of the year so far. Thank heavens Master Yang was offering training t-shirts (black shirts with school logo -- nothing particularly athletic about them) for sale (at $18), because if I had have worn the full uniform, I probably would have gone into ... well, the opposite of hypothermia. Hyperthermia, I guess.
As it was, I felt like a 400-watt light bulb combined with a sprinkler. I don't remember ever sweating so much ever in my whole life. Whoa. Lots of fun -- lots of sweat. Heat. Exertion. Good stuff.