Good Morning, friends! Happy Monday to you. I hope you had a fantastic weekend! My weekend involved a sushi dinner, officially starting the Hal Higdon half marathon training plan and of course watching the Super Bowl. Did your team win? I was cheering for Atlanta!
Nutrition vs. Exercise: which is more important?
Today I wanted to talk about nutrition and exercise when it comes to health and weight. Which is more important? Can you have one without the other?
In my professional opinion, both exercise and nutrition are equally important when it comes to overall health. I’m talking about living a long, healthy life and avoiding chronic disease, and I don’t think you can have one without the other.
Before we talk just about weight, let’s touch on health first. Getting regular exercise is important for decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It can also lower blood sugars. I know a lot of my readers are below the age of 40 and we often don’t think of these types of things, but now is really the time to focus on disease prevention.
The basic recommendation for exercise from the American Heart Association is 30 minutes of activity 5x per week (you can read more here). Anything that gets your heart rate up is considered exercise, so don’t worry about training for something or hitting the gym if that’s not for you. Eating a healthful diet can also decrease your cholesterol and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. So both are super important!
It’s super important to note here that there are TONS of studies that show us you can improve health outcomes (like cardiovascular disease or insulin resistance) with exercise *independent* of weight loss. This means that participating in any type of joyful body movement should improve your health (and mood!) and weight loss doesn’t really matter here.
Where to Start
If you aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to incorporating better nutrition and more exercise into your life then don’t be intimidated. Small changes really add up! Make sure you’re drinking plenty of non-sugary fluids, especially water, and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. One super simple first step is to make sure half of your lunch and dinner plate consists of non-starchy vegetables.
If you’re short on time or finances are tight then there are still lots of physical activity options for you! Just simply walking or doing exercises in your home are great. Don’t have time for 30 solid minutes of exercise? No problemo. You still get health benefits when you split that time up. I make it a point to take a 10-minute walk after I eat lunch and a 20-minute walk with Lily when I get home from work. Even though I’m not getting in 30 minutes all at once, I’m still getting it in.
I’d love to know what you think on this topic! Do you feel like exercise or nutrition is more important to you?