The Effects of Poor Nutrition & Lack of Exercise

The list of effects from poor nutrition and lack of exercise is seemingly endless. Both generally result in considerable weight gain, which puts you at risk for a myriad of health problems, whether physical, mental or emotional. Taking charge of your health will not only protect you from health problems as you age, but will also give you more energy and peace of mind.

Nutrition and Exercise Basics

A healthy life requires proper nutrition as well as regular exercise. Both are key in the prevention of disease and also help improve overall mental and physical health. Diets full of bad fats, such as trans and saturated fats, put you at risk for stroke, certain cancers and heart disease, whereas a diet rich in vegetables lowers the risk of prostate and breast cancer, among other benefits. Sugar, bad fats and processed foods also increase your risk for joint problems, such as arthritis, which is compounded by a lack of exercise, as regular workouts keep the body limber and loose. A healthy diet should be high in vegetables, fruits, cold water fish and whole grains, while exercise should include cardiovascular and strength-training workouts. Generally speaking getting about 30 minutes of physical activity four or five days a week will help keep you healthy; try walking, biking, yoga or swimming.


The Effects of Poor Nutrition & Lack of Exercise

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Obesity is an effect of lack of exercise in combination with a poor diet high in saturated fats, simple carbohydrates and sugar. Obesity puts you at risk for numerous health issues, including breathing problems, diabetes, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure and increased heart disease risk. It can also lead to low self-esteem and depression. Though genetic factors can play a part in obesity, a regular exercise routine coupled with healthy eating habits will keep the weight off.

Illnesses and Condiitions

Secondary hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the numerous conditions that can arise from being overweight. "Secondary" refers to hypertension occurring due to another issue, such as obesity. The arteries become clogged and hardened due to a poor diet and lack of exercise, as both are required to keep the arteries flexible and free from unwanted substances. Hypertension puts you at risk for stroke, kidney failure and heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic findings.

Another health issue that is often the result of poor diet and lack of physical activity is diabetes. Diabetes usually occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin, and Type 2 diabetes often results from an inactive lifestyle compounded by a poor diet, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Those with hypertension are also at risk for diabetes.

Brain Function

5 Effects of Good Nutrition

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Diets rich in vitamins C, B, E, D and omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for optimal brain health, whereas a diet high in trans fats can make the brain age faster, according to Oregon Health & Science University's Dr. Gene Bowman, who has studied the effects of trans fat on the brain. Diets high in sugar are especially toxic, as sugar can deplete the amount of vitamin E in the blood and interfere with the body's mineral content, according to Dr. Nancy Appleton. A high-sugar diet can, in turn, make you feel sleepy, irritable or unable to concentrate. A 2012 UCLA study on the effects of sugar demonstrated how sugar affects the brain's memory and learning ability, however a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids will protect the brain from such effects.

Physical activity will also keep the brain young, as it increases blood flow to the brain. Walking, for example, literally oxygenates the brain as breathing and heart rate increase, which improves blood circulation to the brain and rest of the body. New studies by Justin S. Rhodes, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, have also indicated that exercise helps the brain reduce "physical shrinkage" and enhances "cognitive flexibility."