Many of us have heard these statements countless times—“Exercise is good for you.” “Do regular exercise!” , ”Eat healthy!”
According to WHO, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are leading global risks to health. (WHO, September 2014).
Worldwide, it has been estimated that a sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 6% of CHD (coronary heart disease) cases, 7% for Type 2 Diabetes, 10% of breast cancer and 10% of colon cancer cases.
In fact, it was recently reported that inactivity is responsible for more annual deaths than smoking. (Lifespan, April 2013)
Need for Exercise
In today’s world, a lot of people find it hard to thrive amongst health problems. Regular physical exercise acts as a stress buster and as a solution to many of the disease conditions like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression. If combined with low-calorie healthy selection of foods in your diet, exercise helps you achieve a desirable body weight for your height.
Whenever you exercise, chemicals called endorphins are secreted in your body. They improve a person’s overall mood making him peaceful and happy. Exercise helps you sleep better, which aids also in improved brain function.
Women are prone to a condition called osteoporosis (depletion of calcium levels leading to weakening of bones) in later life. Activities like brisk walking, jumping or jogging helps in preventing this condition to an extent and in reducing bone loss.
Regular physical activity aids in burning excess body fat and improves your overall physical appearance too. It boosts your self confidence and self-esteem. For overweight or obese individuals, it helps in achieving weight loss, if combined with a customized diet plan.
A proper exercise regime is designed, based on individual interests (e g: a person prefers walking instead of jogging) and availability of time that can be spared out of his daily schedule. Overdoing any form of exercise can lead to medical complications.
What is good nutrition?
Nutrition is defined as the act or process of nourishing or being nourished*(*Merriam-Webster’s dictionary).
Our body requires many nutrients for its sustenance. Macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats are required in larger amounts, because they provide us with energy for body functioning.
Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals which are required in very small amounts for our body, for adequate growth and development.
Water and dietary fiber are also important contributors to better body functioning.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) and spares protein during high intensity exercise. The best sources for carbohydrates are cereals, grains, rice, fruits and vegetables. Protein helps our body to repair tissues and to maintain an intact immune system. Animal products like meat, fish, egg, poultry, milk and cheese are the best protein sources, followed by legumes like peas, beans, lentils and seeds. Fats are an energy reserve that act as a carrier of fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K) and protect vital organs in our body. Nuts, oils, seeds, animal based products like meat and milk are the best sources.
Vitamins and minerals are further classified based on their chemical properties. They are crucial elements for enhanced biochemical mechanisms inside the body. These in turn aid in better body functioning. As most of the vitamins and minerals are not produced within our body, inclusion of meat, fish, egg, dairy products, green and yellow vegetables, grains, nuts, dried beans, legumes, cheese are good ways to supplement our body with these vital nutrients.
Balancing nutrients in your diet can improve your physical activity routine and also boost your wellbeing for the entire day.
The adequacy of nutrients in your diet should be planned keeping in mind the type of activity (e g: jogging, walking, athletic events), the duration of the activity (e.g.15 minutes, 30 minutes) and also the results you want to eventually achieve (e.g. Weight loss, Building muscles).
A consistent effort put into maintaining healthy food selection together with a light or moderate form of exercise will improve your overall health and lifespan.
Guest Contributing Author