For ages, the battle of diet vs exercise has kept health enthusiasts interested. But you need to know that both diet and exercise are crucial for our body. Probably one more than the other.
While diet takes care of what goes inside (input), exercise ensures all of that food gets utilized well into energy and nourishment (output).
It’s not wrong to say that neglecting any of them can bring you health troubles. And that’s why it’s essential to understand what role both diet and exercise play in your body and how much attention they need.
That’s exactly what we are talking about in this article. Read on till the end!
Diet Vs Exercise — Game On!
Of all the health and fitness factors, the bulk of the population worries about mental health, weight loss, and muscle gain. That’s why we are limiting our focus on these three factors in this section.
- For mental health.
According to research published in 2020, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, with modest amounts of chicken, eggs, and dairy products can help lower the risk of depression.
Exercise, alternatively, can be beneficial to mental health in the short and long term. According to a study, it causes the release of feel-good hormones which improve your mood and stress levels for a short period of time. Thus, reducing stress.
Verdict: Both exercise and a good diet bless you with optimum mental health. Using both together can increase the speed and intensity at which you experience results.
- For weight loss.
To lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. This means your body should lose more calories than you take in. You can accomplish this by eating and drinking fewer calories, exercising and burning more, or by combining the two.
If you have ever tried to lose weight, you may know that it’s usually easier to say no to 1/4th of a pizza than to run for 43 minutes to burn it off.
This could explain why the 80/20 rule is so popular. It says the best way for weight loss is through 80% focus on food and 20% on exercise.
But you can’t always follow a restrictive diet like the liquid diet. So, to balance out your cheat days, working out is essential.
Additionally, regular exercise may also assist in managing your hunger by controlling ghrelin and leptin, the hunger hormones. This may help you avoid overeating and snacking unnecessarily. Thus, helping you keep the lost weight off.
Verdict: So, is diet or exercise more important to lose belly fat and overall weight? Diet it is! However, exercise can help maintain the weight to balance out some days you crave unhealthy food.
- For muscle gain.
The importance of exercise in muscular development cannot be overstated.
After a workout, your body employs a biological process to repair or replace damaged muscle fibers. It does so by fusing muscle fibers to generate new muscle protein strands called myofibrils. Eventually, these myofibrils get collected, and that’s what we call muscle growth.
But to generate the protein strands, your body also needs protein. While it makes some of it itself, to make sure it has enough protein and all essential amino acids, you need to have a diet rich in this macronutrient.
Not consuming enough protein does not stop the muscle growth process if you work out regularly, it only makes it difficult. However, just eating protein without exercise will not help build that muscle.
Verdict: Exercise has a bigger role than diet for muscle gain.
3 Benefits Of Following A Good Diet Plan
Whether you follow the keto diet plan, the paleo, or the one your mom brought you up with, the correct diet can do wonders. A healthy diet helps:
1) Add Life To Your Heart
In 2020, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a study. The study discovered that people who followed good eating habits more had a 14 % to 21 % lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who followed them the least.
They recommend consuming more whole grains. Plus, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts while avoiding red and processed meats as well as sugary beverages.
You should also eat less salty foods and more potassium-rich foods to reduce your risk of heart disease.
2) Increase Skin Health
A diet high in processed foods and refined carbs can induce inflammation in the body and aggravate skin conditions like acne over time.
A good diet, on the contrary, not only avoids acne but also has a role in preventing skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.
UV rays increase the creation of free radicals, which can harm the structural and firmness-giving components of our skin. This can cause fine lines and wrinkles to become more visible over time!
Antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, high in vitamin C, aid in the battle against free radicals.
To keep your skin healthy, you’ll also need to consume vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and enough water for a well-hydrated skin.
3) Boost Immunity
Our immune system consists of a complex network of stages and routes in the body. It defends us from both harmful microorganisms and diseases.
The system does so by detecting and eliminating foreign substances. These include bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
The elimination happens thanks to white blood cells in our body and the healthy bacteria that can fight the harmful ones. Diet plays a significant role here.
A plant-based high-fiber diet with fruits rich in compounds like vitamin C, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes helps develop these healthy bacteria and white blood cells.
Diets with processed food, refined sugar, and red meat-like foods can cause damage to healthy intestinal microbes. Thus, leading to chronic gut inflammation and low immunity.
3 Benefits Of Following An Exercise Regime
Regular exercise and physical activity have several health benefits that are difficult to overlook. In fact, you can enjoy its perks no matter what your body type, gender, or age. A consistent exercise routine helps:
1) Reduce Pain
Shocked to find that we suggest movement to reduce pain when the rest of the world tells you to rest?
Well, if you have severe injury and pain, rest is the way to go! But to avoid severe pain in the future or to cure the tolerable pain you have, exercise is your medicine.
Exercise works even in the case of chronic pain. It’s the pain that lasts longer than the time it takes for normal tissue healing, which is usually 12 weeks.
Such chronic pain, if not healed, leads to impairment, anxiety, and depression. It can also cause sleep difficulties, poor quality of life, and increased healthcare costs.
According to research, regular physical activity and exercise reduce central neuron excitability. This further increases serotonin (happiness hormone) release in the brainstem pain inhibitory pathways. Thus, reducing pain.
2) Enhance Energy
Your heart pumps more blood and oxygen to your muscles when you move more. And as a result of frequent and consistent exercise, your heart gets more effective at transferring oxygen into your blood.
Both the oxygen and nutrients from the blood help you get the energy you need.
Additionally, regular aerobic exercise reduces the stress on your lungs. And over time, your body uses less energy to do the same activities. So, exercise not only takes care of your energy today but also for your future self.
3) Improve Sleep
Regular physical activity can help you sleep better and feel more invigorated during the day, no matter what kind of activity it is.
That’s because exercise increases the body temperature, and to balance it, the body tries to lower its temperature. And this decline in heat helps you sleep better.
According to a 2019 study, patients with chronic insomnia found their sleep quality improved during four months of the study. All they focused on was stretching and resistance training.
You can also do specific exercises in bed before sleep like planks and push ups, to enhance the quality.
Now you know the role diet and exercise plans play in our health. Both of them have their perks when applied the right way in our life.
While diet helps with losing weight, exercise helps in muscle gain. A good diet also improves your immunity, skin, and heart health.
A workout regime, in contrast, helps you maintain your health by reducing pain, improving sleep, and amping up your energy.
So, there’s no one winner here! The champ of this battle between diet vs exercise depends on what factors of health mean more to you.
Take a minute to think who that is for you, and you will know which one to focus more on – diet or exercise.
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and find their winner as well.