You’ve probably heard the phrase “You are what you eat” before. The food we eat plays an important role in how we look and feel — it even has the largest impact on our fitness! For example, if you’re looking to lose weight, it can’t be done with exercise alone. The common belief is the 80:20 rule — 80% should be based on your diet and nutrition, and the other 20% is based on exercise.
The general recommendation for one’s diet and exercise differs from person to person and it’s best to talk to your doctor to find out what works for you. However in general, the best foods for one’s diet include fruits and vegetables, a variety of proteins and whole grains, as well as nuts and legumes. A general recommendation for exercise includes getting at least two-and-a-half hours of medium intensity exercise a week and adding variety to your workouts.
When setting your fitness goals, start to focus on your healthy food intake as well. The largest benefit of a healthy diet and regular exercise is the ability for your body to fight off disease. Studies have shown that a good diet and exercise can help prevent:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a good workout and a delicious healthy meal? Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy and positive, and most forms of exercise trigger them! This happy feeling is similar to morphine — you may have heard a friend or family member describe a “runner’s high” before, a feeling of euphoria while running. The stimulation of endorphins can help prevent depression and raise one’s self-esteem.
Another important area where a good diet and regular exercise can help you is with your sleeping habits. Exercise is known to help reduce one’s stress and relieve anxiety, the common causes of many sleep problems. It can even improve your sleep quality, amount, and help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, it is recommended that you don’t exercise or eat a meal right before heading to bed.