If Diet is 80% Why Exercise?

80%pieMy sibling posed the inquiry innocently enough on my recent visit, but this was not before he tormented me with a bag of Cheetos and a personalized package of chocolate covered cherries (as outlined in a little brother’s job description when faced with a fitness freak masquerading as his older sister).

I did my best to answer succinctly but found myself having trouble, jumping from one thing to the other like a famished rat on a gourmet cheese board.  A few long paragraphs into my explanation I realized there are a multitude of reasons, and I couldn’t possibly cover them all while keeping my brother’s attention.  I pretty much gave up at that point and made a mental note to tackle it here, so this one’s for you, Bro!

I have previously pontificated about the importance of nutrition.  Diet is 80%, and I am living proof of that equation, not to mention the countless others marching alongside me in the clean eating revolution.  So what gives?  Why build an entire industry out of the other 20%?

Well, for some there won’t be a need to address anything beyond the 80.  I’m a reasonable person, and if you can only manage one major change in your lifestyle, then by all means work the diet for all it’s worth!  You’ll lose weight, have more energy, probably impress your doc with some excellent numbers and get to show off some new (and likely smaller) clothing.

However, there are a multitude of benefits associated with adding a regular exercise routine, like overall health, longevity and a general sense of well-being.  But let’s look beyond the obvious and talk about some other elements associated with exercise, specifically those resulting from  resistance/weight training:spine

BONES     There have been numerous studies documenting the ability of weight training to protect the bones and even reverse the effects of osteoporosis.  This is hugely important as we age, because both sexes tend to lose a greater percentage of bone mass each year after the age of 40.

STRENGTH AND walkerBALANCE     This one may seem obvious, but maybe not for the everyday things in life.  Strength training now will enable you to continue to perform simple physical tasks such as climbing stairs, seating yourself on a chair, getting in and out of the car and taking a shower or bath by yourself.  You may not have thought about your physical abilities much beyond the gym, but ponder it the next time you see an older person teetering around, struggling just to get through the motions of a day.

ON-BOARD FAT BURNING    If you’re not aware of this fact, I’m so pleased to be telling you now.  Having more muscle on your frame will ensure that your body is burning fat not only during your workouts, but pretty much all the time.  If that’s not convenience, then 7-11 is out of business.hourglass

BODY SHAPE     Not to be outdone by its health-guarding counterparts, changing your body shape is a huge aesthetic benefit derived from strength training.  While changing your diet is super-important to getting in shape, you won’t have much of a shape without the weights.  If your bottom is broad, then build some shoulders to balance the bundle.  Flat fanny?  Develop a devastating derriere to display your denim.  Annoyed by abundant alliteration?  Me too.  Anyway, you get the point.  No amount of clean food or time on a treadmill will give you a lean, shapely figure like weights will.

oldest female bodybuilder
Ernestine Shepherd, World’s Oldest Female Bodybuilder
Convinced yet?  I really hope so because when I’m old (and not decrepit) I’ll want to assemble an elite faction of muscle-y seniors for my superstar posse!  How ’bout it, can I count you in?!?