Paige from Learnfit.org is visiting us again! She loves offering her advice on weight lifting and strength training. Today she´s here to talk about diet and exercise.
“Diet and exercise are oftentimes directly associated with a slimmer waistline and improved muscle tone, but the pair can affect your physical health in more ways than just physical appearance.
What Are You Eating?
The food you put in your body can reduce the occurrence of negative health issues and promote a healthy heart and prevent disease. High blood pressure, or hypertension, may result in heart failure and premature death, but by incorporating heart-healthy foods into your diet such as whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, you can reduce your risk of developing hypertension. Eating right can also boost your immune system to build up your body’s defense against communicable diseases, and even help combat depression and addiction.
However, eating right means eating the right foods such as fruits and vegetables, which contain key vitamins and nutrients. The following vitamins are essential to physical health:
- Vitamin C – boosts iron absorption, enhances immune function, promotes healthy gums, resolves to bruise (citrus fruits, cantaloupe, mangos, kiwis, pineapple, strawberries, leafy vegetables, asparagus, avocados)
- Vitamin A – prevents cell damage, heightens infection resistance, maintains skin of gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts (apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow squash)
- Vitamin B-6 and B-12 – vital for central nervous system, essential for the metabolism of amino acids and protein synthesis, improves immune system function (dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds)
As you make changes to your diet, make sure you eat at least three meals a day or five small meals throughout the day, and avoid skipping breakfast. Aim for balance, and eat a variety of foods such as grains, lean meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
According to research presented by the CDC, physical activity can strengthen your bones, build muscle, and reduce risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Your bones, joints, and muscles support your body and enable you to move, so it is important to protect them. Physical activity can slow the loss of bone density, help with arthritis pain management, and help you increase and maintain muscle mass and strength. By getting active, you can also reduce the risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol and fat levels, keeping blood vessels flexible, and reducing inflammation of the arteries. Beneficial changes in cholesterol include a decrease in unhealthy LDL cholesterol, and an increase in healthy HDL cholesterol. Exercise directly affects the heart itself too. As you exercise, your heart grows stronger, enabling it to pump more blood with each beat, and work at maximum capacity with less strain. The resting heart rate of those who exercise is also lower, as the heart exerts less effort to pump blood through the body.
Blood pressure can be regulated through regular exercise as well, with sedentary people having a 35 percent greater chance of developing high blood pressure than those who are regularly physically active. Regular exercise keeps arteries flexible, benefitting blood pressure, but keep in mind that high-intensity activity may not lower blood pressure as effectively as moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, gardening, or dancing. If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, ask your doctor before starting any kind of physical activity to maximize the benefit and reduce the risk of causing further damage.
As you find ways to get moving and active, think of creative ways to incorporate it into your daily life. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn archery or a new style of dance. Include your family and friends by having an epic battle of freeze tag, or working together on a home project such as building a treehouse or planting a garden. Diet and exercise improve your health, so you might as well have a little fun while you are at it.