North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Are you sticking to your New Year's resolution?


February 21, 2018 | View PDF

To all of the resolution creators out there, are you sticking to your healthy diets? I am trying to keep you accountable, after that 1-2 month mark I know that most of you will start falling off of the healthy plan. Many of the new year resolutions are to lose weight, eat right, and feel good overall. Did you forget one thing, exercise? How many of you join the gym and then stop going? Well, I am here to tell you stop doing things like that. Exercise is such a powerful thing for health and I will tell you why.

For one, it is the body’s number one antioxidant system. That’s right, it even beats out vitamin C and healthy eating. Your cells are aging everyday, and exercise will help turn on the anti-aging genes for your body and brain. The American Heart Association currently recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise activity a week. That is only 21 minutes a day. Totally reachable, don’t you think? This can be easily achieved through a brisk lunchtime walk, or a relaxing bike ride through the park.

Exercise improves mood. I know, Seattle is so rainy and cold in the winter. Well don’t let it get you down because season affective disorder can be improved by getting physical activity. Exercise induces happy hormones called endorphins, that actually improve mood and focus. Endorphins are so powerful they actually act like “morphine” on the body, reducing chronic pain and improving pleasure in the brain. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, it should be fun. Try joining a gym or a fun class, anything that gets your body moving will be beneficial. Personally, I really like kickboxing and snowboarding. There is something awesome about visiting our naturally snowy mountains in the Pacific Northwest, it feels like a vacation on the weekend.

Avoid winter weight gain. People are naturally more sedentary in the winter, and they tend to eat more carbohydrates and sugar which spike insulin and store fat on the body. Exercise is really good for weight maintenance. Even if you aren’t losing weight from adding in exercise, keep in mind that it may be preventing you from gaining. Muscle also is more dense than fat, and it is possible to have fat loss without seeing the scale change too much. It is important to set realistic goals for weight loss, and use other tools to measure fat loss like body analysis and measurements.

For successful exercise, I think it is good to have a plan. Pick a few days a week where you can commit to doing some type of physical activity. Maybe that means you get out earlier that day, or you have a break from work, or the weekend. Try to stick to the set days each week, and don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day here and there. Remember to have fun.

Physical activity will keep you living longer. Exercise gets more oxygen to your body and brain, which results in less cell aging and less inflammation. More oxygen to your lungs can help you feel more relaxed, and lowers anxiety. Cardiovascular exercise gets more blood pumping to the heart to make it more efficient, creating less stress on the heart muscle. The brain loves exercise, it can even continue to create new neuronal connections even after your body has stopped growing, isn’t that cool. New research is coming out about how much being sedentary all day makes you live a shorter life. Prevent this with taking frequent breaks to walk around, or get a standing desk. Wow, I can’t think of a reason not to exercise now, I hope you feel the same way.

Dr. Allison Apfelbaum is a primary care Naturopathic Doctor at the Northwest Center for Optimal Health in Marysville, WA, located at 316 State Ave.  Contact us at 360-651-9355 (WELL),,, or email


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