Food Or Exercise: Is it right to choose one?

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All of us know that we should exercise and eat mindfully to keep ourselves healthy and fit. But the fact of the matter is that when people devote time to one healthy habit, they spend less time on the other. So what is more important for you and your health: exercise or diet?

As a fitness professional, I spend a great deal of time assisting and inspiring others in their pursuit of fitness. Education is an important feature of this. Exercise and Diet are two sides of a coin, both aspects are equally important to gain fitness. Eating a balanced diet and being physically active are two of the most important things you can do to stay healthy at any age.  Striking a balance between the both is essential. If you think exercise is the key to fitness, you might workout more and focus less on what you eat. While exercise can definitely improve health—and make you feel better, among other benefits—people tend to overestimate the amount of calories they burn while working out and compensate for the extra activity by eating more. On the flip side, if you believe that eating a balanced diet is the key to physical well being, you might worry less about exercise and closely watch what you eat.

Choose active living and make wise choices about physical activity and healthy eating as a way to improved health. Scientists say that one should perform 60 minutes of physical activity every day to stay healthy and improve health.

 

Few recommendations to stay fit are as follows:

Exercise:

  1. Strength Training – Perform resistance exercise to strengthen muscles and bones and improve posture. Try doing squats, crunches and push ups 2-3 times a week for strengthening muscles.
  2. Endurance Activity – Perform activity for lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Combine strength exercises like squats, crunches and push ups with cardio at least 3-4 times in a week. Reduce your amount of rest between sets of two exercises to boost endurance.
  3. Flexibility – To improve flexibility perform stretching, reaching and bending, to keep the muscles relaxed and joints mobile.

 

Diet:

  1. Eat at least 1 gram of protein per kg of your bodyweight on everyday basis. If your protein intake is low when you exercise, you will lose muscle in addition to any fat if you have. A high protein diet will help you preserve your lean mass. Include good quality proteins with high biological value such as quinoa, chia seeds, nuts and seeds, combination of cereal & pulse, beans & lentils and other animal sources of protein.
  2. Keep your carbohydrates low to moderate. Include good, clean, fiber-rich carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) like oats, whole wheat, brown rice, beans and nuts.
  3. Drink at least a gallon of water per day. Water will keep you hydrated and healthy. Let water be your primary beverage the entire day. Do not rely on diet sodas and artificial beverages, plain water is your best bet.
  4. Do not miss daily dose of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous. Always stick to natural sources to fulfil the requirement. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to gain vitamins. For calcium include sesame seeds, chia seeds, almonds, ragi (nachni) in your diet as calcium is good for your bone health. Have iron rich foods like dates, jaggery, spinach and garden cress seeds (locally called halim).

 

A holistic approach to health not just encourages physical activity but also healthy eating. Exercise produces endorphins that increase your metabolic rate & it also motivates you to eat better which supports heart health strengthens the bones, helps you sleep better, bursts stress, and boosts mental health.

Sound mind, fit body, and a sacred spirit can only be achieved through a balance of both physical activity and healthy eating.

Image courtesy: freeimages.com (James Farmer)

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