This weekend, Jonah and I ran another 5K race, along with my sister and her family. I took five minutes off my last time finishing in the 28 minute zone. After we finished the race and patted each other on the back, we drove home. On the way back, I spied a McDonald's at the side of the highway. I threw on the turn signal and flew off the highway Dukes of Hazzard-style. Two Egg McMuffin meals, please. I was starving.
For the past couple of months, I've been running two miles every morning. It took a while to get into shape to run the whole thing without stopping. My knees have always been a problem, but I found that if I went to the gym every day rather than just a couple times per week, my legs developed enough muscles to protect my knees.
The two mile workout is great, because I can do it even on days when I don't have a lot of time. Half an hour including some stretching time, and I'm out of the gym. If I have more time, then I can do more miles or increase the speed or do weight exercises to help my knees. I'm doing one 5K per month, because I thrive on the competition.
Even with all this exercise, I haven't lost a single pound. I'm not overweight. Compared to most Americans, I'm thin. But I wouldn't mind knocking off five pounds. At first when I started running, I kept stepping on the scale expecting to see a loss of big pounds. That didn't happen. In fact, I'm sure that I'm consuming more calories, because I'm so hungry.
The New York Times discusses how ineffective exercise is as a method of losing weight. My experience would confirm all those studies.
However, my two mile regimen has had other benefits. It redistributed my weight from my waist to the muscles on my legs. I certainly have greater endurance. It improved my mental attitude. With all this running, I can also justify buying cute, new running pants.
The goal of exercise shouldn't be weight loss; it's about a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, along with home cooked meals that include lots of green stuff and that are eaten at the dinner table, will help some lose weight, and it will help everyone live longer, better lives.