If you don't lose weight, there's no point in exercising.
What gets most people off the couch and into their walking shoes? Its that unwanted flab that motivates most of us. It shouldnt.
Many people dont see immediate weight loss and say its all for naught and stop, says exercise expert William Haskell of Stanford University Medical School.
In fact, exercise has a laundry list of benefits beyond any impact on your next shopping trip (see A Dozen Other Reasons to Exercise). Among them:
It improves the ability of insulin to enter cells, so it lowers the risk of diabetes, says Haskell. It also lowers the risk of heart disease by improving blood clotting mechanisms, lowering triglycerides, and raising HDL [good] cholesterol.
Exercise alters not only your risk of disease, but your quality of life, he adds. In our studies, exercise improved sleep in people with modest sleep dysfunction, that is, people who take a long time to fall sleep or who wake up frequently at night.
The psychological benefits of exercise are frequently overlooked, says Haskell. Exercise isnt a panacea, but it has consistently been shown to relieve both depression and anxiety.
Illustrations: Loel Barr