Dieting or exercise? This question has been asked forever, it seems. Dieters and fitness experts are always concerned with the question, “Which one matters more; exercise or diet when it comes to slimming down?
In this article, we answer the question in detail by first examining why dieting is important and why exercise is also important. Then we delve into which is superior to which.
The importance of exercise
Exercise has been found to improve health while reducing the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Physical activity does not only have short term benefits but long-term ones as well. Exercising regularly helps you reduce the risk of a heart attack, manage weight better and lower blood pressure. It also helps you develop stronger bones, muscles and joints while lowering your risk of developing osteoporosis.
What more, exercise helps adherents recover better from periods of hospitalization or bed rest, and leaves you with more energy. It is also said to release endorphins which improve mood and leaves you feeling better post-exercise. In fact, several people posit that exercise is needed for a healthier state of mind, explaining that it helps alleviate the symptoms and mitigate the effects of depression.
The importance of dieting and good nutrition
Our everyday food choices each day affect our health and good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Diet can help you to not only reach a healthy weight but also to maintain that healthy weight while reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Good nutrition helps to promote overall health. In fact, a study carried out by Boston’s Tufts University School of Nutrition scientists discovered that about 50 per cent of all deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes were traced to poor diet. So, to avoid cardiometabolic diseases as those mentioned above, there’s likely nothing more important than following a healthy diet.
Beyond protecting the human body against diseases, following a good nutrition plan means that you are getting the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy, active, and strong.
A good (balanced) diet is very important because the body’s organs and tissues need the proper combination of nutrients to function properly. This is why the body is more prone to fatigue, poor performance, disease, and infection without good nutrition.
Nutrition is also vital because it provides the human body with the required energy to function while promoting good sleep and helping you feel your best.
Following a good nutrition plan means eating a wide variety of foods in the proper proportions, and consuming the right portions of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Exercise Vs Dieting
Exercise and dieting are equally important to losing weight and maintaining an ideal body weight.
Many experts consider weight loss as 75 percent dieting and 25 percent exercise. This means that eating right and smart is something that you cannot compromise.
A recent study of 700 dieters documents that people who dieted without working out for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds on the average while those who worked out without changing their eating habits lost only 6 pounds on the average for the same period. This is because it is easier to cut calories from a diet than to burn them off after they have been ingested.
For example, one box of cheesy pizza delivers around 270 calories, and you need about thirty minutes of exercise to undo those calories.
On the flip side, it is possible to lose weight with diet alone, but we all must remember that exercise is an important component of optimal weight maintenance. Without exercise, you will not only lose fat with diet. You also lose muscle and bone density through diet alone, and this is not in any way good for you in the long run.
Meanwhile, exercising and working out stimulates the growth of muscle, bone density and other metabolic tissues. This means that attempting to lose weight through a combination of diet and exercise means that you’re burning mostly fat.
What you should be eating
For optimal weight loss and a clean bill of health, you should ensure that your diet consists of fruits, protein (particularly fish which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids), whole grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and polyunsaturated fats (found in fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds).
How you should be exercising
You don’t need to run marathons or exercise yourself to death to maintain an optimal weight. All you need is to schedule between five to seven workouts a week, with each workout falling in between 30 and 50 minutes each.
These workout sessions should be at a moderate intensity with activities like brisk walking or Zumba.
To maintain an optimal weight, resistance training helps too but shouldn’t be the focus.
Besides losing weight, don’t forget that exercise has other impressive health perks, such as reducing your stress level, improving the quality of your sleep, and lowering your cholesterol level.
For quick weight loss or to maintain an ideal weight, you need a combination of diet and exercise. Both diet and exercise are important for long-term weight loss.
You need a good diet to lose the bulk of your unwanted weight, and you need exercise to ensure that what you do burn off is mostly fat, and not muscle.
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. And you cannot replace a good workout with diet.