Womens Health

Fitness Overview: The Benefits of Healthy Diet and Exercise

Fitness is the key to a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t have to be treated as a chore. Eating sensibly and walking short distances instead of driving are just some of the simple ways that you can improve your fitness level.

The benefits of exercise - which range from improvements in weight, stress levels, mood, body image and the prevention of serious illness and disease — are just too good to ignore!

Before discussing the benefits of healthy diet and exercise in more detail, let’s take a quick look at what really defines fitness.

Fitness: Quick Facts
Fitness consists of two components: performance fitness and health fitness.

Performance fitness often concerns professional athletes and focuses on activity times, goals, and training regimes.

Health fitness applies to most individuals and involves performing activities like aerobic exercise, exercise bikes, and stretching exercises. The purpose of these health fitness activities is to increase your physical and emotional wellbeing.

It’s important to pick an exercise program or fitness routine that best suits your personality and needs. For example, if you enjoy solitude, you may want to choose activities such as cycling or swimming. If you like interacting with others and function best in groups, you may want to try an aerobics or kick-boxing class.

Exercise or Fitness Programs
The right exercise or fitness program is ideal to keep yourself motivated. It may consist of a 30-minute cardio routine followed by a class of Pilates or a leisure swim followed by a 10-minute walk.

Whatever you choose to do, do it regularly (at least 3 times a week) to lower your risk of serious illnesses, including:

Can’t Find the Time to Exercise?
If you can’t find the time to workout, don’t worry! Just remember to start slowly and that every exercise you perform counts.

Start by incorporating a 10-minute activity into your daily routine such as using the stairs instead of the elevator or walking from the furthest parking spot to get to your destination. Gradually begin to include other 10-minute activities into your day, until you have a total of 30-60 minutes worth of exercise per day.

Remember to be creative and have fun with with your fitness routines. However, keep in mind that in order to reach true physical fitness, it’s important to choose a variety of activities that work your heart, strengthen your muscles, and increase your flexibility.

Heart Health
Your heart is the central component of the cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system. Other components of the circulatory system include the arteries, veins and capillaries.

The main function of your cardiovascular system is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is achieved by the continuous flow of oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body.

The less effort your cardiovascular system expends nourishing your cells, the higher your aerobic fitness level will be.

To improve your aerobic fitness level, exercises like walking, running, biking, and swimming are good activities that don’t require hours at the gym.

Exercise Your Muscles
Your muscles are responsible for nearly all the movement in your body. Your muscles also help protect your organs and bones, and support your tendons and ligaments.

It’s important to strengthen your muscles with strength training activities, such as resistance training, swimming and weight lifting.

The importance of flexibility is often overlooked, but flexibility is key to achieving overall fitness. Flexibility lowers your risk of muscle and joint injuries. Every fitness routine should incorporate activities such as active isolated stretching (AIS), Pilates, or yoga to increase your flexibility.

Healthy Diet
In addition to exercising, eating right is just as important in order to stay fit and enhance your overall wellbeing. For tips on how to incorporate nutrients in your diet, check out our healthy eating guide

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