Fitness: Which has more impact on long-term health — diet or exercise?


In a perfect world, we would exercise and eat homemade most days, if not every day. But we are not perfect.

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Regular exercise and a balanced diet are the gold standard of a healthy lifestyle. But how many of us can say that we do both strictly? Consumed in restaurants, there is clearly room for improvement in maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits.

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Foods that are not home-cooked are likely to be high in salt, sugar, saturated fat, calories, and low in vitamins and minerals, all of which are associated with metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. and increases the risk of some chronic diseases, some types of cancer, and poor mental health. In a perfect world, we would exercise and eat homemade most days, if not every day. But we are not perfect.

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So if you had to choose between perfect exercise and diet, which would you choose? And which is the best choice in terms of longevity?

Although some studies have assessed the sole role of exercise and nutrition on long-term health, it is important to note that healthy behaviors are interrelated, and that the impact on lifestyles that do not involve one or the other is limited. Very few studies have been examined. Therefore, a study from the Tehran Medical University is of growing interest in a study comparing the effects of his four different lifestyles on the mortality rate of 17,641 people. In 13.9 years he 23,051 women with men over 40 years old.

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Diets were analyzed based on consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and legumes, red and processed meats, sugar, sweetened beverages, and sodium. Physical activity was measured by calculating time spent in sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous intensity exercise. Data collection also included personal information such as gender, age, marital status, ethnicity, occupation, education, socioeconomic status, medical history, and daily habits such as smoking and drinking.

The purpose of this analysis was not only to determine the long-term effects of regular exercise and well-fed food, but also the longevity of those who met their exercise goals but were guilty of a less-than-perfect diet. A diet superstar who rarely works out.

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What the researchers found is more nuanced than you might think, given the strong messages from health and wellness experts to strive for both regular exercise and proper nutrition.

“In our study, all-cause mortality among participants who engaged in both healthy behaviors, physical activity only, and healthy diets only, compared with participants who engaged in both unhealthy behaviors, was It showed a reduction of 21, 16 and 9 percent (points) respectively,” said the researchers.

However, when the researchers narrowed the scope to just cardiovascular disease, the results were not replicated.Only individuals with active lifestyles had a reduced risk of dying from heart disease. However, there was no effect on mortality.

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“When it comes to risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, sticking to a healthy diet but not doing any physical activity is no different than an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle,” said the study authors.

Does that mean diet isn’t as important as exercise when it comes to long-term health? Not necessarily. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains remains an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially as it relates to overall health. We do not know the effects of diet and exercise on other serious conditions. What we do know is that regular exercise is essential to maximally reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. .

It’s also worth remembering that the best combination for prolonging life is a physically active lifestyle and a healthy diet. It was the lowest risk. So if you can claim that you can achieve both, don’t change anything.

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But if, no matter how hard you try, you can only develop one of these two habits, your long-term health is far better than those who do neither — for cardiovascular disease. except.

Eating healthy and exercising regularly isn’t as intense as you might think. Increasing the amount of vegetables, adding fruit to your diet, and eating fewer meals outside the home are all positive changes. The same is true. Small changes can have a big impact not only on your daily life, but also on your long-term health.

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