I wholeheartedly believe that consistent exercise is an integral part of a happy, healthy and productive life. Exercise can provide structure, relieve stress, build relationships and make us more mindful of other lifestyle habits that may be detrimental to our health. However, exercise alone may not be the solution that most hope and it may not encourage the weight loss that millions seek.
It is often believed that the Western lifestyle and our proclivity for sedentary behavior is the reason for the expansion of our collective waistline. But, a recent analysis of the Hadza people, a population of hunter-gatherers living in Northern Tanzania whose foraging lifestyle is similar to our ancestors, found their energy output analogous to Western populations and that any disparity in weight is the result of differences in energy input. This suggests that the calories we consume are more important than the calories we burn. So, if we have resolved to lose weight and get healthy in the New Year, modifying our diet may have the most immediate and most profound effect on our waistline.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise is very important in helping establish a positive life balance and can have many other physical and mental health benefits. But, no amount of exercise will allow us to escape the detriment of poor eating habits and we will never be able to out train a poor diet.
That being said, it’s never too late to amend a New Year’s resolution to include both diet and exercise goals! All we need to make a healthy resolution an everyday reality is an honest desire to develop the lifestyle habits that facilitate lasting change.
Have a delicious and active New Year! Cheers!