Perspective

Josh Ritter goes deep on the latest album he’s called “Wrist Diamond”. We talk to him about the album, life, and NYC.

Perspective

Last week, I questioned whether a sweetened beverage can outweigh the benefits of exercise. It was a sort of catch-22.

On the one hand, a large study showed that exercise consistently leads to a host of health benefits, but many of us are so eager to reach our weights on the scale that we’re primed to pass on the opportunity to burn off those calories.

On the other hand, research continues to point out that working out does the opposite of ruining your weight: It enhances your metabolic rate, regulates insulin levels, and even increases HDL cholesterol. Which brings us to drinks.

The most common form of exercise, by far, is a liquid: I’ve heard the ancient Greeks refer to it as “two-thirds juice.” People no longer need to work out to burn off that take-out take.

While moderation is still important, it’s increasingly becoming clear that there’s one way to avoid weight gain, no matter what you’re putting in your body: Exercise.

That’s the definition of a “natural” calorie-burner, an exercise you can do even if you’re making the decision to “eat well” — not if you’re intent on losing weight. Exercise always increases metabolic activity, which continues long after the workout is done.

The problem is, we still eat. We’re so flooded with the perception that food is the only part of our bodies that we ignore our increasing rate of exercise. But exercise-exercise-eating — or IOTEED — is different: It’s the fusion of healthy habits, like taking your lunch to work or drinking a glass of water before your workout, with a degree of fastidiousness that keeps you focused on your body and out of a sugar rush.

The benefits from exercise don’t end when you step away from the treadmill. Instead, they continue even when you’re resting. When you do exercise, you trigger a part of your body that helps it shift from storing fat to burning it off. How? Most of the natural fat you burn during exercise is stored in the area around your stomach. That part of your body has very little control over the calories that make it there, so it’s not always in a good position to take advantage of the energy you’ve expended in your workout. In fact, your body needs more fat to function properly, so doing exercise has a whole other benefit for the body: Getting rid of some of your stored fat.

As these facts became more clear to me, I found myself thinking about my marriage. Two things stood out to me: There was still time to get off the couch, and before long, I was doing more than just “working out.”

In my time, my exercise became more general: I walked the dog, drank our take-out (I’ve learned it’s better to limit calories that you’ll eat later, when you have more space), and because it felt good to do so, I dedicated some time to the stairs downstairs.

My wife and I attended a class for single women and were greeted by fellow attendees who were just as committed to living healthier lives as we were. They asked each other questions, volunteered to help with house chores, and each offered to pick up extra groceries or get me ice cream in exchange for buying something on Amazon. They bonded over coffee and food.

Our life became even healthier after each of them left. Friendships are hard. Relationships are so much easier when you’re eating better than you were before.

In the same way that something as simple as getting up from the couch during the day makes it easier to get dressed and drive the kid to soccer practice, you’re more likely to exercise if you’re supporting your habit with another person. Because it’s a common business practice for singles to hang out with people who are single, we became part of something similar: We spoke about our habits, observed how we were keeping up, and talked about what we thought would keep us going.

I started to ask myself: Would I stay in the gym just because my husband is there? Will I still get off the couch if I hear my favorite music? Do I really need a specific time of day to work out? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then find a way to practice what you’ve learned, even if it means your schedule is equally packed and difficult.

In the end, that’s what matters more than any physical function of an exercise machine: It’s all about the psychological benefits. That is, if you’re taking care of your body, your weight will get taken care of, too.

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