I make your health my priority so you can make your dreams your priority!



Stop Exercising!

If you have been reading my blog or following my newsletters, you know that my health journey has led me from a strict USDA calorie cutting, low-fat diet where I used weight as my metric of health and success to more scientifically-based food choices that taught me to  stop counting/cutting calories and stop judging myself based on weight.  However, the health misconception that took me the longest to let go of was the idea that we should all be exercising as much as possible in order to achieve health and weight loss.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Exercise is essential for heart health and stress relief, and we should all be moving every day.  However, it is HOW we move that really matters, and you probably won’t be shocked to learn that just like the recommendations for calorie counting and weight measuring have been leading us in the wrong direction, the recommendations for exercising as much as we possibly can and as hard as we can are just as flawed and harmful.  In fact, believing in this myth can lead to exercise addiction, weight GAIN, and an INCREASE in cardiovascular disease!  You e-heard that right!


Let me explain.  We have been duped into believing the whole “calories in = calories out” myth that as long as we exercise off all the calories we eat, then we won’t gain weight and we will be heart healthy.  In addition to the fact that this concept has never been scientifically proven, there are also several flaws with this model:

  • First of all, one bottle of soda requires 4.5 miles of exercise to work off.  In the eloquent words of one local citizen, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”  It’s virtually impossible to exercise off high-sugar/starch/grain meals.
  • Second, this myth assumes that we are machines, and that the only thing affecting weight is our calorie balance.  In truth, weight is affected not only by food, but also by stress, illness, toxic load, genetics, hormones, and more.  This means that two people (or 100 people) following the exact same calories in vs. calories out program will still have different body types and show completely different patterns of weight loss.
  • Third, more exercise doesn’t necessarily equal more weight loss. In fact, past a certain point too much exercise will kick our bodies into starvation mode, which actually increases appetite and fat storage leading to weight GAIN instead of weight loss.
  • Furthermore, every time we exercise we create free radicals.  Free radicals are the little guys that roam around our bodies damaging our DNA while causing cancer and damaging our blood vessels while causing heart disease.  Unless we are eating a substantial amount of antioxidants from veggies and herbs, too much exercise can actually cause quite a bit of internal harm.
  • In addition, the belief that more exercise = better health also leads to possible exercise addiction.  Do you ever feel guilty when you can’t exercise when you are hurt or injured or busy?  Do you ever choose working out over hanging out with friends or family events?  You might just have exercise addiction!
  • Finally, and this is the real kicker, believing the myth that as long as you get your daily 60 minutes of physical activity then you are the picture of heart health leads to us ignoring what we are doing with the rest of our daily activities, possibly increasing our risk of heart disease despite the fact that we think we are super healthy.

Would you be surprised to learn that Americans are exercising the same amount now than we have in the past?  Exercise amount for Americans hasn’t decreased or increased comparing the past to the present.  So then why has heart disease continued to increase?  What researches are realizing is that the recommendations for one 60-minute bout of activity sandwiched between a mostly sedentary day has led to a false over-confidence in our health status.  So while exercise hasn’t increased or decreased in our country, sedentary behavior has increased.  And what researchers are finding is that

it is the amount of sedentary behavior and sitting, NOT the amount of total exercise, that actually correlates to heart disease and other health risks.

Body movement health expert Jen Hoffman at says

“We’re focusing on the wrong thing. Instead of trying to increase the quantity and frequency of our exercise, we need to examine and reduce our sedentary patterns.
And exercise doesn’t reverse these risks of sedentary behavior. To maintain and support our long term health and wellness, we have to begin to look at how we are (or are not) moving our bodies all day long.”


What this means is that if you are a dedicated gym member who does his or her instructed 60 minutes of intense cardio every day, but then the rest of your day is spent sitting, you have just as much or even more risk of disease than someone who has never flashed their gym membership card to the teenager behind the counter but spends their day in low-intensity motion.  I can’t tell you how many students and clients I have had that feel guilty because they “don’t exercise enough”, when really they are on their feet all day chasing kids, walking dogs, walking to and from class, etc.   And I can’t tell you how many people I know that constantly exercise yet still feel terrible and have health and weight issues!

So should you stop exercising?  Well, yes and no.  You should stop exercising with the goal of losing weight.  Cardio exercise is a fabulous way of getting us out of our stressed out heads and into the present moment of joy.  If you are woefully running on the treadmill while you punish yourself for your morning donuts, then you are using exercise the wrong way.  Our cardio workouts should be a fun way to expunge stress, meaning if you are not smiling and laughing and feeling a decrease in stress levels then you need to switch work outs!  If your goal is to decrease your risk of heart disease and body pain, then incorporating movement throughout your entire day should be your focus.  If you have a sedentary job, this means standing up every 30 minutes or so and stretching, walking around the office, or better yet taking a short walk outside.  In fact, if you do take these latter steps then missing the previous 60-minute workout may not even be that big of a deal!  You can also play with your kids, park farther away in the parking lot, stand and stretch while watching TV, and anything else that gets your body into moving and out of sitting.  And this also means that if you already do this type of all-day low-impact movement, you can stop feeling guilty and talking so mean to yourself!

Make sure you don’t miss my next blog post about why you should ignore the USDA’s recommendations and say GOODBYE TO GRAINS.

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Lori Valentine Rose, PhD, CNP, BCHN, FDN-P, RH (AHG), NBC-HWC, is a college biology, nutrition, herbal, and wellness instructor, national board certified nutrition professional and holistic nutrition consultant, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, board registered herbalist, national board certified health and wellness coach, wife, mother, organic vegetable, fruit, and medicinal herb gardener, school garden planter, city class teacher, and passionate Zumba dancer!  She created, developed, and instructs the Hill College Holistic Wellness Pathway, the most thorough, affordable, degreed wellness program in the country.  She also has a video podcast here where she interviews people that have helped her truly embrace real mind-body-spirit holistic wellness.  She loves spreading love and light, and helping others feel awesome on the inside and out so they can live their dreams and make this world more awesome!  Lori Rose Holistic does not replace medical advice or working with your doctor, and she does not diagnose, treat, or cure disease.  Her goal is to educate, and any actions you take are voluntary and of your own free will.

If you are tired of doctors that only spend 5 minutes with you only to give you medications that are band-aids and don’t address the root cause of your issues,

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If you are ready to learn the tools and skills needed to get the vitality back into to your life then email me at to set up your free 15 minute introductory consult!

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2 thoughts on “STOP EXERCISING!

    • loriroseholistic says:

      Well, that really just depends. If one of my clients were trying to gain weight, I would first ask “why?” I would also want to know that person’s diet….a low weight from malnourishment won’t increase from extra gym time. Also, if this person is trying to decrease risk of heart disease, then it is still the sedentary time throughout the day that matters the most. So even if they are trying to gain weight and the gym does achieve that, I would still say that decreasing sedentary time throughout the day is important. =)


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