A healthy lifestyle is part exercise and mainly nutrition – a good ratio for healthy living is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition. It is futile to eat uncontrollably and think that some exercise in the mix is enough. Just like with food, striking a good balance with exercise is beneficial, in the quest to be healthy.
I will start by making a distinction between physical activity and exercise. These terms are often used interchangeably or misused. They are both important components of a healthy lifestyle.
Any movement that is carried out by our muscles requiring energy, can be identified as physical activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity (a predominantly sedentary lifestyle and/or a lack of exercise) as an independent risk factor for chronic disease development. It is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
Conversely, exercise is defined as planned, structured, repetitive and intentional physical activity, embarked on to sustain or improve our health and maintain our fitness levels.
Physical activity has a positive impact on our health and wellness, exercise improves cardiovascular health, endurance, strength, flexibility and body composition.
We need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is however not good to then be mostly sedentary as we commute, work at our desk and generally be couch potatoes, for the greater part of our day. High levels of inactivity through the day will easily nullify the little exercise done, and can cause us major health problems.
There is a wide variety of exercise routines to choose from. Our choice of exercise will be mainly driven by what we enjoy and desire to accomplish.
The foods we consume before and after we exercise, are also important. My experience is that it is best to strike the correct balance…not too much, just enough. It is also a good idea to leave enough time before exercise, after a meal. Foods costumed after exercise, help us restore our energy levels and repair any muscle tears experienced during exercise. Water is essential too, to keep us hydrated.
The bottom line as Christians, with the way we fuel our body is remembering that our body is the Lord’s Temple to be looked after intentionally. Please see my blog titled ‘Your body is not your own.’