You only live once. The body you’re in right now is the body that will carry you through life - it is your vessel. Yet so many people are destroying their body with junk food, alcohol, stress and a sedentary lifestyle. These habits damage the body, resulting in diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression. Healthy habits, like regular physical activity and good nutrition have a profound impact on your health, allowing you to live life to the fullest. Here’s how exercise and nutrition impact your health.
How exercise impacts your health
Regular exercise has a profound impact on your physical and mental health, yet only one in five adults get the recommended amount of physical activity in Europe each week. These people are drastically increasing their risk of premature aging, poor cardiovascular health, diabetes, weight gain and accelerated muscle degeneration.
When you exercise, you place your body under brief periods of stress and inflammation that result in powerful and complex anti-inflammatory responses. These post-exercise responses strengthen each time you exercise, to boost antioxidant production, shift your hormones and improve your metabolic function to feel and perform better in everything you do in life.
Exercising increases the heart rate to increase blood flow around your body, which strengthens heart health and lung capacity, so that you can more efficiently transport oxygenated blood around your body. During exercise, your muscles are required to effectively metabolize energy to use as fuel. This may be in the form of stored energy or circulating nutrients, which promotes the breakdown of fat stores to help maintain a healthy body weight.
As well as improving your physical health, exercise has also been shown in research to dramatically improve mental health. When we are physically active, our brains release hormones that help us to feel and function better. These hormones include endorphins, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and anandamide to name a few; all responsible for making you feel happier, clear minded and more productive post-workout.
Studies show that individuals who regularly exercise have a 35 percent decreased risk of developing heart disease or stroke, a 50 percent decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity, age slower, have less age-related illnesses like sarcopenia, and experience less mental health problems.
How nutrition impacts your health
You may have heard the phrase you are what you eat but seriously - you actually are what you eat. The average adult loses roughly 300 billion cells every day. Your body is constantly renewing itself, using the fuel provided from your diet. An inflammatory, highly processed, nutrient poor diet is increasing your risk of a number of diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and inflammatory conditions like joint pain and psoriasis.
Foods like refined carbohydrates, sugar, trans fats and heavily processed foods cause a whole range of issues in the body. They cause inflammation, spike your blood sugar rapidly, alter your hormones and decrease your cognitive performance.
On the other side of the coin, healthy food can have a profoundly beneficial effect on your health. A diet rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, a variety of micronutrients, anti-inflammatory foods helps to fight free radical damage, promotes cell turnover and repair, regulates your hormones and boosts your cognitive performance. A 14 year study found that the participants who consumed a consistently healthy diet were 80 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to the participants who ate a standard diet.
When you eat healthy and exercise regularly, your body can function properly. You’re less at risk of developing disease and you can enjoy life to the fullest. If you’re struggling, start small - make a few small changes daily that over time compound, shifting yourself towards a healthier, happier life.