If you answered “to lose weight,” we would respectfully disgree.
Sure, exercise burns calories which can help with weight loss, but if you do it properly, the #1 reason to exercise is to reduce inflammation in your body.
But not just any type of exercise provides a major anti-inflammatory benefit.
Read on to discover the particular approach to exercise that has been proven to reduce inflammation.
At Gene Smart, we advocate an approach to exercising that is proven to reduce inflammation.
It’s not that you can’t lose weight by exercising. You can. The weight-loss equation boils down to burning more calories than you take in, and exercise is a way to burn calories. But it’s a pretty inefficient system, and sets up a lot of people for failure.
Think of it this way: To burn 100 calories, you’d have to bike at 5 miles per hour for 32 minutes, walk at 3 miles per hour for 23 minutes, swim slowly for 20 minutes, or engage in vigorous aerobic activity for 10 minutes. That’s a lot of work! By comparison, it’s easy to consume 100 calories; you can do it in the blink of an eye. Just eat one medium-size banana, one medium-to-large apple, or 1 ounce of American cheese. One cup of sweet tea or a cookie, and—calorically speaking—you might as well have skipped your bike ride altogether.
Not to mention that when you exercise a lot, your body compensates with mechanisms to maintain your current weight. For example, it naturally decreases your non-exercise-induced energy expenditure—that is, the calories you burn just engaging in normal activities of daily living, like sitting at your desk.
How to Exercise to Reduce Inflammation
On the Gene Smart Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan, the main reason to exercise is to reduce whole body inflammation, and the key to reducing inflammation with exercise is getting your heart rate up!
Start slow, and work up to exercising at least 5 days a week, for at least 30 minutes. At first, try to achieve 50-75% of the maximum heart rate for your age. You may need to do intervals at first to get enough quality exercise. As you get in shape, increase your working heart rate to 70-85% of maximum. Learn how to determine your maximum heart rate.
There are many ways to get your heart rate up. Choose activities that you enjoy! Check out our list of aerobic activities for ideas.
It’s ok to split up your daily activity into two or more sessions, as long as cumulatively you get your heart rate to the desired levels for a total of at least 30 minutes each day.
This approach has been shown to markedly reduce inflammatory messengers
and whole body inflammation
Tips & Tricks to Stay on Track
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for getting and staying motivated:
- Make a schedule: Write down your workout schedule on a calendar, and put it in a clearly visible place, like on your refrigerator.
- Find a workout buddy: Recruit a family member or friend, and make a pact that together you’ll stick to a workout calendar.
- Track you success: Keep track of your exercise plans & successes, and also where you have struggled. To make planning & tracking easy, we offer a custom daily journal to record your anti-inflammatory eating & activities each day.
- Switch it up: Both you and your body can hit a plateau if you repeat the same routine over & over again. Give your body and mind a jumpstart and try something new. Try a fun new fitness class, such as Zumba or Hot Yoga, or get some friends together for a pickup game of basketball.
We’re Here to Help
We offer a range of resources to help you exercise to reduce inflammation, including a sample exercise plan, a list of aerobic exercises and tips for how to start exercising.
If you wish to incorporate strength training together with aerobic exercises, we offer guidance for that, too.
Stay connected with us! Join us on Facebook and let us know your favorite ways to keep your heart pumping. We’d love to hear from you!