If a physically active lifestyle is something recent for you, take a moment to congratulate yourself. There are arguably few things more important in life than being physically active because it does so much for your body and health. If you are not there yet – keep going. One day at a time and you will get there.
Now, when exercising is no longer new to you, there are still a few things you ought to keep in mind.
Of course, we must raise the topic of diet and nutrition. It is as equally important to eat well as it is to exercise. Your risk for disease rises, and your health inevitably degrades otherwise. So just because you are following an exercise plan does not mean you should overlook your diet.
This leads us to a crucial point: exercise does NOT justify an unhealthy diet. In other words, just because you are burning calories through cardio does not mean you can continue to eat poorly, or lack discretion in regards to your nutrition.
While a sedentary lifestyle in and of itself increases the risk of disease and general illness, poor food choices are also responsible for many serious health conditions including Type 2 diabetes. Meaning even if you are no longer sedentary, it does not say you are no longer at risk of developing serious complications. The impression here might be one involving just the extremes…
- Type 2 diabetes,
- heart disease,
- kidney failure, and
are some of the long-term possibilities of an unhealthy lifestyle, which is the consequence of poor food choices. But, let us not forget the other health problems that arise, some of which are too common in our society. Notably, this includes obesity and all of its forms.
Unfortunately, even if you exercise, it does not necessarily mean you are going to be lean eventually. You are not exempt from the complications of being overweight just because you are now physically active. To prevent weight gain or to lose weight, you have to slowly moderate your diet, especially if you are frequently exercising.
One issue of physical activity (mainly cardio) rarely discussed, is regarding how it provokes an increase in appetite. You will find yourself tempted to eat more, sometimes unknowingly. Clearly, this could be an issue especially if you are using exercise as a means to lose weight and become healthy. It is an even greater problem when you attempt to justify poor food choices or a habit of overeating.
Exercise is not a cure to an unhealthy diet and not the solution for a healthy lifestyle. Not on its own, at least. This is not to take merit away from physical activity, or how you are finally active after being sedentary for so long. After all, exercise is not only beneficial but also essential.
But never forget a healthy diet is important, too.