Exercise and nutrition always go hand-in-hand when anyone discusses health and fitness because they are both important to maintaining optimal health, especially when they work together.
Exercising uses a lot of your body’s resources and those need to be replenished.
What does nutrition do for your body?
The food pyramid guide is structured so that you can easily gauge how much of each nutritional category you should consume on a daily basis.
There are six sections of the food pyramid guide. They are:
- Meat and beans
By eating the recommended daily allowance of each category your body should get everything it needs to nurture itself.
From good nutrition, your body gets energy, amino acids, calcium, fat, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. All of these are necessary for a healthy lifestyle, and when you exercise you need to be sure you are getting all of your nutritional requirements.
What does exercise do for your body?
Exercise is what keeps your body conditioned and working. If you don’t move your muscles and joints, your body will become weak and eventually break down. From exercise, you gain stamina, flexibility, weight maintenance, and the prevention of many diseases.
If you do not move your body it will simply cease to function. Illness resulting from lack of exercise may manifest in many different ways. For example, you may become lethargic or depressed, you may gain weight, you may develop stiff joints, or you may develop a heart condition or diabetes.
Most often, illness has a compounding effect. Imagine if you never exercise and begin to gain weight. The weight gain can lead to diabetes. Diabetes can lead to blindness, circulatory problems, and death.
This is the same domino effect with many other medical conditions, and it can oftentimes be avoided or minimized with exercise.
How do nutrition and exercise complement each other?
Nutrition and exercise not only complement each other but they need each other. Even if you eat a perfectly balanced diet you need to exercise to burn the calories. You also need to exercise to strengthen your muscles.
Food gives you energy, and you need energy to exercise. After you exercise you need food to restore your energy. The best energy comes from glucose, which your body extracts from carbohydrates.
The best choice of carbohydrates should be whole grains.
Since excess carbohydrates get stored in the body as fat, it is important not to consume more carbohydrates than your body requires.
Choosing the right carbs can help you maximize their potential without adding empty calories.
For instance, one can of soda is equivalent to three slices of whole grain bread. Your body will be able to break down the whole grain bread into usable energy but the soda will mainly be stored as fat.
Understanding how food is processed in your body and what calories are is helpful to maintaining a balanced nutritional lifestyle.
There are several other components essential to overall nutrition:
- Amino acids are important for your body, especially when exercising and weight lifting – When you are weight lifting, you tear down your muscles so that they can get rebuilt and grow bigger and stronger. In order for your body to repair those muscles, it needs amino acids.
- Calcium is important because it gets stored in your bones and helps keep your muscles working properly – Without calcium, your bones can become brittle and decay. Calcium comes from dairy products, greens, and whole grains.
- Fat is an important source your body needs to surround your cells and regulate your hormones – That being said, fat is only needed in small quantities and it is important to choose only the good fat. Monounsaturated fat is good fat and helps reduce the possibility of certain diseases. Saturated fat is bad fat and increases your risk of high cholesterol and other life-threatening conditions.
- Phytochemicals are believed to work naturally as an antihistamine as well as an anti-inflammatory source – They can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables, so eating a variety of produce can help you get your daily allowance.
- Antioxidants are important to fight free radicals in your body – Also found in fruits and vegetables, these are known to fight cancer cells and clean your body of pollution and other toxins.
- Vitamins and minerals are necessary because they help your body process everything else, such as carbohydrates and protein – They all work together to keep your body running correctly.
Nutrition is important when exercising so that your body is able to endure your workout, recover from it, and get stronger.