Exercising and the Keto Diet
OMG, I think I’m dying. I’m dying.
I can’t breathe, I’m pretty sure I’m going to die….
I’m on the elliptical. How did I even GET here? I’m in the basement for Petes sake.
Last I remember I was standing aimlessly in the kitchen thinking that I really need to exercise. After that fleeting thought my brain immediately initiated the ‘Great Rebellion’ and started reciting a list of chores that needed to be done first……
OH! The dishes! YES! We must do them! We must do them now! We will exercise later.
Really? What kind of person had rather do the dishes than exercise? Well me, apparently.
Do We Have to exercise on Keto?
The short answer is no. You do not need to exercise to lose weight on keto. But by being active, you will deplete your body of its glycogen stores faster, so you can start burning fat faster, while actually increasing keytone production. There are so many reasons to exercise, whether you are practicing the keto lifestyle or not, and here are just a few.
Reasons Why We Need to Exercise:
1 Exercise will elevate your mood and decrease feelings of depression!
When you get moving and get that heart rate up, it increases the hormones norepinephrine and serotonin, which help relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Exercise also increases the production of endorphins, which help produce positive feelings. Also, according to Dr Ede, cutting out refined carbs and refined oil via a low carb or keto diet could actually improve mental health.
2. Exercise is great for your muscles and bones.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, which may lead to injuries and disabilities. We MUST exercise to build muscle so we can retain our strength and agility as we age. You’d be surprised at how many aches and pains go away as we start to build muscle in our bodies. Exercising also helps build bone density, and our bones won’t be as fragile as they are in some older folks. In other words, let’s not fall and break our hip.
3. Exercise can actually be an energy booster!
There is some irony for you. By expending energy we gain even more. It can even increases the energy levels of people that suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Regular exercise seems to even be more effective at relieving fatigue than relaxation or stretching therapy. Also, once your body goes into ‘fat burning mode’ (about 2-6 weeks of keto) your body is burning fat for fuel which is a much ‘cleaner’ fuel source and the amount of energy you have is amazing. I say this from personal experience, which will be another blog post on its own
4. Exercise can also reduce risk of chronic inflammation in your body.
This in turn, reduces our risk of chronic disease, and to put that into perspective, chronic inflammation is found in every single case of disease. It also improves cardiovascular fitness while decreasing blood pressure and blood fat levels. Even short term lack of exercise can led to significant increases in belly fat! And of course, that’s what a lot of us hate the most. The clean keto diet alone is an anti inflammatory diet, so combined with exercise, you are really doing a favor for your health.
5. Exercise can also help your brain health and memory.
Exercise increases your heart rate and gets that blood and oxygen flowing to your brain!
It also stimulates the prouction hormones that help the growth of brain cells. Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, the part of your brain that is vital for memory and learning, to actually grow, which will increase mental function as we get older. It also reduces the chances of Alzheimers, among other neurological diseases, including dementia. So combined with the keto diet, which studies now show may improve memory and brain function on its own, exercise combined with the ketogenic diet, is a win/win situation.
6. Exercise helps us sleep.
Do you toss and turn most of the night? Or wake up and can’t go back to sleep for a couple of hours? When we exercise, the energy that we expend actually stimulates our bodies recuperative process while we sleep. One study found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality, which will help you feel more energized during the day. Also, the lack of refined sugar and carbs on the keto diet further relaxes your body because you are not constantly spiking your blood sugar.
So what does exercise really look like?
Get outside and walk. Studies have shown that walking outside can improve our mood better than staying inside on a treadmill. Even knowing this, it’s hard for me to get outside unless the weather is absolutely perfect. And by absolutely perfect, I mean 56-58*f with a slight breeze coming from the East at 2 mph.
That being said, it’s not always optimal to walk or run outside, especially here in the South where we have unfenced dogs that will run at you with the veracity of a crazed raptor, but don’t use that as an excuse to not exercise! Get on a treadmill, or an elliptical! Outside or not, it will get that blood pumping and those muscles moving!
Drag out those workout videos and blow the dust off, while at the same time looking for your DVD player. You can even find some cheap work out CD’s from eBay.
If that just doesn’t sound like fun, do what I do! There are awesome workout videos on YouTube that are free! I like YouTube because you also have a large variety of work outs to choose from.
So Grab some resistance bands and do a search on YouTube for resistance training, or search workouts for specific body parts you want to transform, like arms and legs. You can also find awesome aerobic workouts, and these are not your mama’s Jane Fonda workouts. I’ll link a few of my favorites down below!
You can also download free apps on your phone for HIT exercises that last just 7 minutes, and as you build your fitness level, you can do them 2 or 3 times in a row, and they are no joke. I’m suspicious that they are actually a bit longer than 7 minutes, but I’ve never actually timed them.
Do you travel a lot? No excuse. I’m a flight attendant and I have my travel yoga mat and stretchy bands in my suitcase for every trip. I don’t even have to pack my HUGE tennis shoes that literally take up half of my suitcase, nor do I have to get dressed to go down to the gym in whatever hotel I’m in. I don’t even leave my room.
Not once have I ever gone to bed at night and thought ‘Oh, I really wish I hadn’t exercised today’.
There is no excuse to not exercise, even though we can think of 100’s. It’s just too beneficial to skip. If you haven’t moved in awhile, it’s ok, start where are you.
Let me say that again. Start…where…you…are. Don’t push yourself trying to bend into the perfect shapes of the instructors who have done this for years, you might hurt yourself…saying for a friend. You are not going to look like your instructor the first time out. Start where you are and build.
So do you have to exercise to lose weight on keto? No.
Do you have to exercise to get better sleep, have a healthy brain, fight chronic inflammation, not be depressed, build your bones, build more muscle and to have more energy? Yes.
So get up off the couch, start moving and stay KETO!