Our Experts, Your Health

The diet and exercise combo

Some things just go together, like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, shoes and socks, peas and carrots, Bert and Ernie and DIET and EXERCISE.   To become healthier we may start with just exercise or just diet but to get the most benefit we must have both.

Healthy eating can give us the energy we need to be active. Being active helps us choose healthier foods.

In order to lose weight we need to be both active and eat less. Exercise alone will not get us to our target weight. If you choose to eat an average slice of cheese cake you would need to walk an additional 3 hours at a moderate pace to burn those calories.   Most of us don’t have enough time in the day to get an hour of activity in.

Our weight is affected by the balance between food (calories in) and exercise (calories out). If you want to lose weight you need to decrease the calories in and increase the calories out to create a negative energy balance.

Diet and exercise is not just about energy balance, it also provides many health benefits.   Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Being active  can give you more energy, reduce stress, improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, lower your blood pressure, lower your triglycerides, raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, and strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles. The list goes on.

When you put diet and exercise together great things can happen to your health, body, well being and mood.

It can be overwhelming to think about making changes to your lifestyle. If you have not exercised in a long time, start by making small changes such as reducing your portion sizes at your biggest meal of the day and walk 5 to 10 minutes every day. Continue to do this for a week or until you gain confidence and then slowly increase to 30 minutes 5 days a week. It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. As you increase your minutes of activity you could continue to make small changes in your diet, such as adding more veggies at dinner time or choosing fruit as a snack instead of a bag of chips. Remember you do not need to be perfect every minute of every day. Aim for eating healthy and being active at least 90% of the time.

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