Working out as therapy


Three years ago, I had a conversation with a middle-aged man who battled severe depression. With no intentions of playing doctor during our chat, I asked him, “What changed?”

“Two things. Therapy and I started working out.”

This isn’t an attempt to extol the benefits of exercise. Frankly, this is a story I’ve never shared with anyone, but given the level of ignorance people exhibit these days when it comes to health and fitness it’s in good time. It’s one thing to hate it. It’s another thing to perpetuate the idea you don’t need to exercise.

I totally get it. Being in the gym damn near everyday, I’ll admit there is a degree of smugness that might come across as vain and superficial. Whether or not he had assistance from a trainer, what I hope you can take from this is that strength training extends far beyond looking good.

Q:​ ​Is walking a viable form of exercise. I’m planning on walking 30 minutes a day. Can I break that into shorter segments, like 10 minutes here, then 10 minutes after five hours, then another 10 minutes at home?

A:​ Daily walks are tremendous. Productivity junkies fall prey to the notion that getting in shape has to be gritty and an all-out effort. Granted, to a degree, you do have to push yourself. You don’t want to put too much stock in just one domain. However, don’t discount the value of what walking can do for you. It’s been well-documented that frequency is highly predictive of progress. So, if you can, break it into shorter segments.

Q:​ ​What’s your take on intermittent fasting?​ ​If we do go for it, what’s a good way to start?

A:​ Eating within an 8-hour window and fasting for 16 hours is standard in the intermittent fasting crowd. It’s pretty clear in the research there are health benefits. However, if we’re talking about losing weight there’s nothing magical about it.

Proponents of the diet might say otherwise, but there’s a lot of data to support the fact that you can lose just as much weight on a standard diet when strictly adhered to. The overarching theme is calorie restriction. If you can successfully adopt the eating pattern of the diet and it allows you to manage your overall food intake, then have at it. What needs to be strongly considered is, if it causes you to binge drink and eat, or worse, have a negative relationship with food, then you should look elsewhere.

Dre De Los Santos | Author
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.