08 July, 2011
The Importance of Exercise & Nutrition
Consistent exercise and proper nutrition play a vital role in your ability to maintain your overall health and quality of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistent exercise and proper nutrition can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as lower risks for certain forms of cancer -- for starters. Your body needs quality fuel and proper maintenance to function optimally; nutrition and exercise help meet these requirements.
Basic Exercise Guidelines
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity per day five times per week. Take a brisk walk or ride your bike at a pace that makes holding a conversation slightly difficult. When you can’t fit a workout into your day, avoid being sedentary; walk to the corner store instead of driving and take the stairs instead of the elevator. These minor adjustments can strengthen your heart and improve artery health.
Mental Stimulation and Stability
Consistent exercise can help improve your mental stability and support optimal cognitive function. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise can reduce such negative mental conditions as anxiety, depression and mood swings while improving self-esteem. Following the minimum recommendations for exercise can improve your alertness and performance on your job as well as your ability to perform those minor tasks around the house.
Improving Heart Health
Living a sedentary lifestyle can have an adverse impact on your heart health. According to the American Heart Association, exercising regularly can effectively reduce your risk of heart disease. Nutrition also plays a role in improving your heart health. Clark University reveals that a diet high in cholesterol and fat can cause arterial plaque -- a fatty deposit -- to build up in your arteries slowing blood circulation. Exercising regularly and reducing your fat and cholesterol intake will help fight plaque buildup.
Effective Weight Management
The CDC states that being overweight can negatively affect your heart, increase your risk for certain types of cancer and increase your risks of other conditions such as stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. Exercise together with a proper diet will help place your body in caloric deficit, meaning that you are burning more calories than you are consuming. Eating foods high in nutritional value but low in caloric content such as fresh fruit, cruciferous vegetables and lean proteins such as fish and poultry can help create a caloric deficit. Eat five to six times per day with carbohydrate and protein portions each the size of your fist.
Enhanced Physical Performance
When you provide your body with adequate fuel through proper nutrition combined with consistent exercise, you enhance your ability to perform. Case Western Reserve University notes that nutrition and exercise are vital to optimal athletic performance. A healthy carb intake will help provide you with consistent energy, while lean proteins will help support muscle development and repair. Exercise and nutrition work synergistically, creating the capacity for enhanced performance.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The Benefits of Physical Activity
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone
- American Heart Association: American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Exercise for Mental Health
- American Heart Association: Get Moving
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Effects of Overweight and Obesity
- Case Western Reserve University: Why is Proper Nutrition Important?
- Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images