Exercise: An Integral Piece of the Puzzle

October 13, 2020

What does physical activity have to do with nutrition?

Eating well is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being healthy. Exercise is also key, and when combined with a nutritious diet, it is an excellent way to promote weight loss, weight maintenance, and disease prevention.  Physical activity causes the body to burn calories while it builds and maintains lean muscle mass.  With an increase in muscle, your body will burn more calories, even at rest.  In addition, combining diet and exercise can lead to an increased loss of body fat, which is important for cardiovascular and whole body health.

When it comes to realizing the health and weight-management benefits of exercise, consistency is key. The current recommendations are that adults should engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week (in bouts of at least 10 minutes for a total of at least 30 minutes per day); or vigorous-intensity activities (for at least 20-60 minutes per session) on 3 or more days of the week. Note that additional health benefits can be gained by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. If you do not already engage in regular exercise, however, be sure to consult your physician before starting a new regimen.

Benefits of Exercise

Increase metabolic rateIncrease strength of tendons and ligaments
Increase lean body massReduce the risk of developing diabetes
Improve cardiovascular fitnessIncrease muscular strength and maintain strong bones and joints
Help regulate blood pressureDecrease total cholesterol and blood glucose
Help control weight and appetiteImprove quality of sleep
Improve emotional and mental well-being and increase energy levelsReduce the risk of many types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, and others

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