Would you still do it?

I just finished reading James Fell’s post The Exercise Myth and as I read it, I kept nodding my head in agreement. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with exercise my whole life – I love it when I do it, but I hate feeling like I have to MAKE myself do it. To paraphrase Fell’s post, he basically says that functional exercise is better for the majority of people than regimented formal exercise like running or lifting weights. Things like walking to a coworker’s office instead of sending an email, playing with your dog outside, or walking to the store instead of driving, are all ways that most people can increase and stick with daily movement. He writes that only a small percentage of people truly love exercise and that most of us just do it as a means to weight loss and we hate it while we’re doing it. But actually, the theme of the post is that exercise does not lead to weight loss and we don’t have to kill ourselves with workouts we hate. And this got me wondering…

If you knew that exercise had zero effect on weight loss, would you still do it?

I mean, really…think about it for a second, would you still get up for that 6:00 am run if you knew it wouldn’t help shed the pounds? Would you still scramble to make it that 7:00pm Zumba class if you knew the number on the scale would be the same the next morning?

Remember, we’re talking about exercise in regards to WEIGHT LOSS ONLY. Would you keep doing the exercises you’ve been doing if it had absolutely no bearing on losing weight?

Here’s what delights (and confuses) me about the question: I feel I would be more inclined to exercise if we took weight loss completely out of the equation! Because my history with exercise has only ever been based on calories burned and pounds shed, it comes as no surprise that working out is not my favorite thing. Taking weight loss out of it feels more liberating to me – like it opens up a whole other space for self-care.

If you say that getting in that early morning run keeps you from stabbing your coworkers later in the day? I believe you and think wholeheartedly that you should keep running (I’d hate to see you go to jail just because Bob in accounting made a snide remark on your presentation). Also, if getting to that Zumba class is the only hour you have where you don’t have toddlers hanging on your legs? Then absolutely, you should go. And if swimming every day eases the soreness in your joints, then swim on, my mermaid friend!

So, I’ll ask the question again, but with an addendum: If you knew that exercise had no bearing on weight loss, would you still do it and if so, what would you do and why?

That’s your assignment for today – answer these questions. You can put your answer in the comments below or just think about them in your head as you go about your day.

And remember, this is all just hypothetical. I know there are a lot of you reading this right now and you have your email ready to send to me saying YES IT DOES JILL! EXERCISE ABSOLUTELY LEADS TO WEIGHT LOSS!! Calm down, okay? We’re playing pretend here. We’re just seeing how it feels to explore this point of view. IT’S GONNA BE OKAY, I PROMISE. 🙂









6 thoughts on “Would you still do it?

  1. Yes. I realized a long time ago that exercise really didn’t make much of a difference when it came to losing weight (for me, anyway), but I liked making my body stronger and yes, sometimes the endorphins made it all magical. I don’t get that runner’s high every time I run, but I actually like to run most of the time, and I like getting in that bit of runner’s therapy with my friends.

    That said, I don’t think most of us should use exercise as an excuse to eat more (and I disagree with WW giving you extra food points for exercise), but I do enjoy my treats after our long run…but that’s what they are, treats. Not “I burned off all of those calories so I can eat this” – nope, not at all.

  2. I’ve said for years that if you are really trying to lose weight, its much easier if you back off of the exercise for a while. But now I exercise because I like it, and also because I am hopeful that it will help with long term health.

    I skimmed the article, and I kind of laughed, because I don’t really sweat that much when I exercise. Maybe I don’t exercise hard enough, but I think that might be okay, because I finally enjoy exercise. Being retired and having time for it is probably a huge factor too.

  3. Intriguing question! Yes, I would still do it even if I knew it wouldn’t impact my weight loss. I would still rush to Zumba class, because I love to dance and it makes me feel like a badass when I leave class dripping with sweat. I would still ride my bike because I love the fresh air in my face and the post-ride rush of knowing I just pedaled myself over 40 or so miles of trail and street. I would still walk, because walk keeps me from being stabby at the office and because I adore being outside. I love knowing what my body can do and I love pushing my own limits.

  4. No, I sure wouldn’t. There was a time, before I had a chronic illness that I played a sport. If I could still play that sport I would exercise because I would do that- I lived for playing. However, I can’t play and it’s improbably I ever will again and really that was the only form of exercise I ever really ENJOYED otherwise it’s all for the weightloss. LOL

  5. Although exercise is not my favorite thing, I have found I feel so much better (physically, mentally, emotionally) when I exercise that I would absolutely continue. Right now I am struggling with getting my thyroid issues under control, along with entering menopause, and exercise is not making one iota of difference in my weight. But on the days I don’t exercise all the thyroid/menopause symptoms seem so much worse.

  6. I know exactly what you mean. I gave up exercise as in running etc when I started intuitive eating, because I realised how futile it was for me. I HATE formal exercise, but I do lots of walking and I dance. I learnt since being off the diet bandwagon that exercise is anything that gets you moving and makes you happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.