Should you exercise on a low carb diet? You bet! Here’s why diet alone is not enough for optimal health. And win a FitBit Alta fitness tracker.
Come over and sit by me for a second. We need to have a little chat, you and I. See, there’s this nasty rumour going around the low carb world and it’s been bothering me for a while. We need to set the record straight, right here, right now. Because this nasty little rumour is misleading people and making them think that they don’t need to exercise, that all they need to be healthy is a low carb diet. You see these cute little memes all over social media about how you can’t outrun a bad diet. This is true, of course, but many folks are extrapolating it to mean exercise is unimportant for health. I am seeing it in many low carb and keto groups, people chatting about how they don’t need to work out, and it infuriates me. Don’t fall for it! Don’t be lulled into thinking that just because you are keeping your carbs low, you are on your path to optimal health. It is patently untrue.
This little rumour seems to have started because many studies indicate that diet is the most important factor in weight loss. But weight loss and optimal health are far from the same thing. Our bodies are designed to move. We are not made for sitting in office chairs all day, or lounging on couches all evening. Our brains, our hearts, our muscles crave activity. It makes us feel better, both mentally and physically. It can settle our nerves and calm anxiety, it can help us sleep better, and it can give us more energy overall. It is truly a critical part of our health and fitness. So I say…you may not be able to outrun a bad diet, but you also can’t out-diet a lack of activity. You will never be truly fit just by diet alone.
Now, please understand that I am not saying you have to hit the gym hard every day. You don’t have to do CrossFit or participate in 200 mile relay races (although both of those are pretty fun, if I do say so myself). But, barring any serious physical limitations, you do need to move, no matter how slowly. Walking, hiking, swimming, dancing, running, weight lifting…whatever floats your boat. Start small, if you have to, walking a bit more here and there, working it in where you can. Yes, you DO have time. We all do. And while it may be hard at the beginning, it gets easier with time. It even becomes something you…gasp…enjoy!
So in the hopes of inspiring you to get out there and move a little more, I am giving away a FitBit Alta. I decided to try it out for myself and I really am quite enamoured of the thing. While I am one of the crazy ones who likes to lift heavy things and run a 200 mile relay race with friends, I find that this little band around my wrist helps keep me moving more on a daily basis.
I spent quite a bit of time researching step counters and I chose the Alta for a couple of reasons. I first had my eye on a pretty little fitness tracker shaped like a leaf that could be worn as a pendant or a bracelet. But the reviews indicated that it wasn’t all that reliable. And it didn’t have any sort of display directly on it, you had to check your phone to see your progress. I wanted something stylish and un-clunky that was still accurate and informative. Everything I was reading led me to the Alta. It has less functionality than some FitBits but had just the right amount of information for my purposes: the time, total step count, total miles, calories burned (not really important to me), total minutes of exercise. If you want your fitness tracker to be stylish, the basic Alta band can be switched out for some fun designer bands to make it more like a watch or a bracelet.
And that’s just the device itself. It also links to my phone and gives me more detailed information, like how much I slept, how many days per week I’ve had of real exercise, and how much I’ve moved per hour. I can set some of my own goals like drinking more water, and track that in my phone as well. I also get alerts if my phone rings or someone texts me. My wrist buzzes and I can see the phone number or the beginning of the text on the display itself. Which is really great for someone who typically has her phone set to vibrate only and misses some important calls because of it (my son is always mad when I miss his calls!).
Now, do understand that this is not a GPS system, like a Garmin or an Apple Watch. I can’t use it to measure my pace while out on a run, although it does accurately track my miles. It simply tracks my movement all day. It also doesn’t have a heart rate monitor as some FitBits do.
Which brings me to the only thing I don’t really like about it: it can’t recognize my CrossFit workouts very well. We are often stationary when lifting weights and it has no real way to tell that I am working hard. And even some of our high intensity workouts have us staying in the same place for periods of time. So I will come out of CrossFit, sweating profusely, having really pushed my muscles, heart, and lungs and the Alta will tell me I’ve only done 6 minutes of exercise and burned 54 calories. Whereas it will give me more credit for a 10 minute walk to the grocery store.
Still, I am enamoured of the damn thing, and even for someone as active I am, it encourages me to do a little bit more. I like to rack up those steps, I like to know that I was moving around and not sitting for most of the day. I find I don’t want to let my Fitbit down! So as a motivator, it really does the trick. It also sends me nice little emails, telling me I’ve earned this or that badge, and telling me when the battery is low. It’s my new best friend.