The Hidden Health Benefit to Active Lifestyles


Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird

It seems like everyone has diet advice. If one was so inclined, he could spend hours on google and health sites learning the latest tricks and tips to losing weight. As for myself, I’m not that patient. However, there’s always been a tried-and-true method for losing weight for me: Staying active.

An Active Lifestyle

It never ceases to amaze me how much weight I can lose while camping. I recently returned from a hiking/canoeing expedition in Arkansas, and the amount of weight I lost was incredible. The majority of our days was either hiking or canoeing somewhere, and hanging around a campfire at night. During meals I would eat more than I normally would at home, and usually the amount of sweets I’d normally intake was much higher. (Smores, anyone?) Yet I still lost more weight in 4 days than I had in a couple of weeks. How could this be?

The Obvious Benefits

As everyone knows, the more energy you expend in a day, the more calories you’ll burn. Also, the more active you are, your metabolism rises and you’re able to burn more calories than you normal while doing un-active things.

It’s safe to assume the amount of energy I expended each day hiking raised my metabolism considerably.

The Not-So-Obvious Benefits

I’ve been running at least 3 times a week these past few months, so it’s kind of surprising that I was able to lose a lot more weight than with my running routine. But this could easily be explained by one simple truth:

The more active you are, the less you’ll snack.

If you’re spending all day moving around, you’re obviously burning more calories, but you’re also snacking less. A sedentary lifestyle encourages snacking. I can see this in my personal life all the time.

As a freelance web worker, I spend most of my day on my keister. As I work only a few feet from my kitchen, it’s quite tempting to constantly snack. Many television zealots enjoy eating snacks while watching TV, as it gives you something to do. Popcorn, chips, candy… it all adds up.

But say you were riding a bike, or hiking a trail, or weeding the garden. It’s just not that easy to snack while being active, is it? Imagine lugging around a bag of chips while riding your bike on a trail… not fun.

So, if you’re wanting to lose weight without eating less (at meals), start becoming more active. Start finding creative ways to get up and moving throughout your day. You’ll feel better, but you’ll also be less inclined to snack less.

So here’s my question to you: What are some creative, fun ways to stay active? Comment below, and I’ll write another post on your responses. Thanks guys!

Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • socialmaker September 23, 2009, 1:18 pm

    I think people need a more personal approach when it comes to doctors. I know i have a doctor which takes care of my problems(prosolution gel) and he is so nice. He always knows me by name, he's friendly and i gladly attent every meeting.

  • socialmaker September 23, 2009, 9:18 am

    I think people need a more personal approach when it comes to doctors. I know i have a doctor which takes care of my problems(prosolution gel) and he is so nice. He always knows me by name, he's friendly and i gladly attent every meeting.

  • Quick Colon Cleanse July 31, 2009, 2:54 am

    I absolutely agree. While both diet and exercise are important, and have huge health benefits, I feel exercise and an overall active mentality is more important, and can overcome a less-than-perfect diet. I don't think it permits us to eat junk food on a regular basis, as you said, but we can definitely avoid eating like rabbits if we so choose to.

    Burn the fat, feed the muscle.

  • Ryan July 1, 2008, 12:12 am

    I totally agree with this. When you're up, moving around, going for a walk, biking, jogging, etc….you are not only burning calories, but you are staying away from adding unwanted calories. It's very, very easy to pick up a snack when you are lounging around.

    For me, some of the ways I like to keep active, even when I am working, is every half an hour I'll get off the computer and alternate between doing 25 sit-ups and 25 push-ups. It takes about 2 minutes to do and it will make a difference!

  • RJane June 25, 2008, 12:11 pm

    Although I get where LP is coming from, I think this post is very relevant to remaining productive. I find that exercising regularly helps me focus better and sleep better (the weigh loss part is a bonus!), both of which make a huge difference in my productivity. Doctors and scientists will tell you it's the boost of endorphins and heightened oxygen levels/circulation that make this happen. One thing I've heard from a lot of creatives–and a practice I follow frequently–is that sometimes going for a walk is just the thing to get your brain primed for that project you're working on. In other words, exercise makes for a great work partner by physically helping de-clutter what's in that sometimes-chaotic mind.

  • Sheamus June 23, 2008, 6:44 pm

    I agree with your basic point Glen but on this:

    So, if you’re wanting to lose weight without eating less (at meals), start becoming more active. Start finding creative ways to get up and moving throughout your day. You’ll feel better, but you’ll also be less inclined to snack less.

    I'll say that while you're probably right if by 'active' you mean just simply not being sedentary – i.e., going from nothing to something – which by default gives you less time to be bored and then eat for the sake of it.

    However, if by 'active' you mean even a semi-vigorous exercise program you'll almost certainly be eating more. Sometimes, a lot more!

    And that's one of the best reasons to get *really* active – up the milage enough, and you can pretty much eat what you like. Better, as your body gets healthier and more optimised, you'll find yourself reaching for healthier, more optimum foods more often than not, too, because you'll crave them. Your body typically knows what it wants. If you treat it like junk, that's what it'll crave.

    Even better yet, eating reasonably healthy six days a week affords you the luxury of having one complete 'blow out' day on the seventh. This, again, is beneficial in more ways than one – psychologically, naturally, but calorie splurges once every seven days stop your metabolic rate from dropping as your body gets used to the routine of the rest of your week.

    It's win-win. :)

  • LP June 23, 2008, 6:19 pm

    Glen,

    I was really excited when I first found this blog, but the last 5-6 posts don't seem to be in any way related to 'Productivity for Creative People', especially this one. I'm not sure that including the phrase 'as a freelance web worker…' once in the article makes this topic (losing weight) any more relevant to what this blog used to be about. Bring back the on-topic posts, please!