You may have heard that many people who are living a keto lifestyle were able to lose weight without the need for exercise. Yes, it is true that you can lose fat without having to workout at all. How great is that, you can lose the weight without making any other major changes to your lifestyle. All you are really changing is your eating habits and everything else can stay the same. However, after you start your keto life, should you consider adding exercise to your weekly routine? The answer is Yes, and for several reasons that are not related to weight loss.
If you are just starting out on a ketogenic lifestyle and you do not normally exercise I recommend that you concentrate on your new keto life before considering exercise. At the beginning you may have some have some keto flu symptoms as your body adjusts from using carbs for fuel to using fat and ketones for fuel.. It is best to get through the early changes that your body is going through before you start exercising.
Once your body has adapted to using fat for fuel you may find (as I did) that you have much more energy and that you actually want to exercise. I know this may sound hard to believe if you normally don’t have the energy or the desire to exercise, but I am a living example of this happening. In the past exercise was a four letter word, but now I want to get up and exercise.
Exercise is important no matter what eating plan or lifestyle we follow. However, remember that you cannot “out exercise” a bad diet. Eating good food that is good for you always has to be the starting point if you want to change your life. It is what you eat that supplies the building blocks for your desired outcome (weight loss, energy, etc). Now that your body has adjusted to your new leto lifestyle, what are some of the benefits of adding exercise to your daily routine?
1) Exercise Improves Insulin Sensitivity
For most people, insulin sensitivity decreases as we get older and become less active. Sedentary people are more likely to have elevated levels of blood glucose, and they have higher levels of insulin secretion throughout the day and as result of having excess body fat. Or, maybe you are like me and you ate junk most of your life and you are on the way to metabolic syndrome, prediabetes or even Type 2 Diabetes.
Exercise, especially weight bearing, anaerobic activity has been shown to improve the efficiency of insulin in response to blood glucose.When living a keto lifestyle, blood glucose levels and glycogen stores are lowered. As you become more insulin sensitive your body is better able to handle small amounts of glucose in the system without the issues of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
2) Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles
As we get older it is important to protect our bones, joints and muscles. Not only do they support your body and help you move, but keeping bones, joints and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active. Research shows that doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity of at least a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.
How many times have you heard that an elderly person fell and broke their hip, or leg? Strengthening our bones and muscles will help us to be stronger and more physically fit as we get older, and to protect us from such injuries later in life.
Exercise and a keto lifestyle also help with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. Both exercise and a keto lifestyle have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and can help with inflammatory issues such as arthritis.
3) Helps Fight Depression
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects. Along with relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from falling back into a state of depression.
Exercise fight against depression for several reasons. First, it promotes positive changes in the brain such as, neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. Exercise also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that lift your spirits and make you feel good. Secondly, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to take your mind off of your concerns and negative thoughts that feed depression.
4) It Makes You Feel Better
Simply put, exercise makes you feel better both physically and mentally. As you start moving and exercising your body will start to get stronger, and as you get stronger you start feeling better. It is hard to explain the “good pain” that you have after exercising unless you experience it for yourself, but it definitely makes you feel better as you keep exercising.
If you want to get the full benefit from your ketogenic lifestyle, then exercise must be a part of your life. The combination of exercise and a keto lifestyle, can improve your insulin sensitivity, strengthen your bones and muscles, fight depression and improve your state of mind, make you feel better and improve your overall body composition.
I realize and understand that exercise is probably the last thing you want to do when starting out on your ketogenic lifestyle. However, once your body has adapted to burning fat for fuel – fat loss, strength, and muscle gains will happen when you start exercising. However, do not push yourself to exercise right away. Just make sure to incorporate exercise into your keto life as soon as possible and reap the rewards.