- improves muscle mass
- increases bone density
- decreases body fat
- protects against heart disease and stroke
- prevents type 2 diabetes
- decreases stress and improves mood
- improves focus, attention, and memory
- boosts energy and sex drive
All physical activity is not created equal. No I'm not talking about running vs swimming here. I'm talking about exercise vs play.
A recent study published compared how many calories people ate after walking 1 mile. The participants were split into two groups: one group that was told they were walking the mile for exercise and were to pay attention to their exertion, while the second group was told the walk was for pleasure and were given music to listen to and told to rate the sound quality.
Here is how Gretchen Reynolds from the New York Times described the results:
"Those women who’d been formally exercising reported feeling more fatigued and grumpy than the other women, although the two groups’ estimates of mileage and calories burned were almost identical. More telling, when the women sat down to a pasta lunch, with water or sugary soda to drink, and applesauce or chocolate pudding for dessert, the women in the exercise group loaded up on the soda and pudding, consuming significantly more calories from these sweets than the women who’d thought that they were walking for pleasure."
Is is fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking.
Losing weight may require some serious fun.
Benefits of physical activity.