Many people think of healthy habits and diet pills as an either-or situation: either you commit to a clean diet and regular exercise, or you take a pill – not both.
In actuality, the most successful users of prescription diet pills are those who take their medication as directed, and also put in the time to develop healthy diet and exercise habits that they can sustain long-term.
Reminder: ALWAYS talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you: are concerned about your ability to exercise, haven’t been previously active, suffer from chronic health conditions or are taking a weight loss medication that could affect your heart/cardiovascular system.
Here are five reasons to get active while taking diet pills, even if you’re already losing weight without exercising!
1. Better Overall Health
Leading an active lifestyle is linked with better health outcomes, even independent of weight or body mass index (BMI). While weight loss or appearance may be one of the reasons you work out, it is far from the only reason to get moving.
A 2011 study showed that regular exercise and improved diet significantly decreased subjects´ cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammatory markers, while also improving their ability to efficiently metabolize glucose – whether or not they lost weight.
More, the landmark 2017 Rotterdam study found that overweight and obese individuals with a high physical activity level did not experience the increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk that is characteristic of sedentary overweight and obese people.
This indicates that regular physical activity may mitigate the risk of a higher BMI, at least in terms of heart disease.
So, rest easy: even if your weight isn’t budging after countless hours at the gym, committing to regular workouts can still produce positive health outcomes.
2. Faster Metabolism
Another, more well-known benefit of regular physical activity is increased calorie burn. Most people work out to achieve a leaner, more-toned appearance, or maybe burn off a too-big meal, but did you know that maintaining a higher percentage of lean muscle boosts metabolism as well?
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so highly-muscular people burn more calories at rest than do their less-brawny counterparts.
Putting in the time to build (or at least maintain) lean muscle mass is especially important for people who lose a lot of weight quickly.
This is because rapid weight loss cannibalizes lean muscle tissue. When you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming, the body draws on glycogen (carbohydrate) and adipose tissue (fat) reserves to fuel daily activity.
However, if these preferred fuel sources run low, the body may also begin to draw on muscle as a source of energy. No one wants to lose precious lean muscle mass as they slim down, so regular activity is vital, especially for people who are losing quickly with the help of appetite-suppressing diets pill like phentermine (Adipex) or Belviq.
Exercise also burns a lot of extra calories burned while you’re actively breaking a sweat, so it can help you burn more fat and lose weight faster in the short-term as well!
3. More Energy
Many people say they don’t exercise because they simply don’t have the energy after a long day of work, school or errands. What many people don’t know is that regular physical activity actually boosts energy levels!
Plus, breaking a sweat releases feel-good neurotransmitters that increase feelings of well-being, which makes many people feel even more energetic.
4. Stronger Immunity
Always sick? Working out increases immunity and helps your body fight off unwanted infections.
Experts aren’t sure exactly why exercise helps us fend-off sickness, but they theorize that it may be related to:
- Increased circulation: White blood cells and antibodies arrive and attack faster when blood pumps faster.
- Higher body temperature: Some harmful bacteria are less comfortable at higher temperatures.
- Lower levels of stress: Moderate-to-intense exercise releases feel-good hormones and decreases levels of the detrimental stress hormone, cortisol.
5. Improved Mood
Last, but definitely not least, regular workouts improve mood.
Working out increases catecholamine (serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) and endorphin levels, which helps boost mood, concentration and memory. Plus, regular physical activity helps regulate sleep patterns and gives you a sense of accomplishment. So, exercise is supremely helpful for managing symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety and ADHD in people of all ages.
Thankfully, you don’t have to drag yourself to the gym for hours a day to reap these impressive mental and emotional health benefits.
A recent study out of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that exercising for just 15 minutes a day significantly reduces risk of depressive disorders.
Data from their more than 600,000 participants indicates that people who engage in high-intensity activity (e.g. running) for at least 15 minutes per day, or lower-intensity activity (e.g. walking) for at least 30 minutes per day, experience a 26% drop in their odds of developing depression.
Not Sure Where to Start?
If you’ve been less-than-active recently, the prospect of working out again can be intimidating. The good news is that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) go from 0 to 100 in a single day.
First, before undertaking any new exercise routine, it’s important to speak with your doctor. He or she can make sure you’re healthy enough for exercise, adjust medications as needed and help you address/prevent activity-related injuries.
Once you’ve received medical clearance, start small with 5-10 minutes of walking, or whatever feels appropriate for you, and then gradually work your way up to recommended levels of physical activity.
Experts suggest that healthy adults aim for 75-150 minutes per week of vigorous activity (e.g. running, swimming, jumping rope, aerobics or single’s tennis), or 150-300 minutes per week of moderate activity (e.g. walking, hiking, casual cycling, gardening, water aerobics), to achieve maximum health benefits. If possible, also incorporate a muscle-building activity (e.g. lifting weights) at least two times per week.
Thankfully, exercise is equally beneficial whether you do it at home, outside or in a gym, so don’t feel pressured to join a fitness club if you’re not comfortable or able to do so! You can break a sweat wherever it works best for you.
With all of these benefits in mind, it’s definitely worth your while to dedicate a few minutes each day to exercise. Even if you’re already losing weight with your prescription diet pills, doctor-approved physical activity can boost weight loss further and help improve your overall health in the short- & long-term!