This section will tell you all the main things you may want to know about Nutrition & Fitness to help you make the right choice of medicine or treatment for solving your particular health problem. Below, there is a listing of Q&A with doctor / health expert replies to questions pertaining to Nutrition & Fitness, followed by list of Nutrition & Fitness related articles on the site.
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Nutrition is the science that deals with what you should eat, how much, and when, to meet the requirements of your body and your mind for healthy functioning and to achieve optimum health.
Fitness focuses on how you should stay active and exercise your body to build strength of the body and resistance against disease, increase or maintain muscle mass and shed unhealthy fat, at the same time squeeze toxins out of your body to give you an enhanced sense of well-being and happiness.
The science of nutrition realizes that every individual must have a balanced diet that caters to all the requirements of the body without too much excess or deficiency of any one form of nutrient, to have a perfectly functioning body. All the nutrients need to be present in the right proportions for an ideal diet. These nutrients are basically classified as follows:
1. Macro-nutrients: needed in relatively large quantities by the body
2. Micro-nutrients: needed in smaller quantities by the body
- Other nutrients (phytochemicals, antioxidants, intestinal bacterial flora)
A poor diet can damage the health of an individual and make the person susceptible to diseases from deficiency of certain nutrients as well as make the body vulnerable to other forms of disease. On the other hand, a diet rich in all nutrients as per required proportion, can truly nourish the body, strengthen it and make it resistant to diseases.
Physical fitness is the ability of a person to complete certain tasks and activities of physical nature with certain amount of intensity. It is generally a barometer of a person’s state of health and well being. It is also used to mean the general good health of a person. Physical fitness is generally achieved through a combination of right exercise, right diet and right sleep. Fitness is also said to be comprised of mental, social and emotional health, along with physical fitness.
Studies have revealed that the benefits of exercise are enabled through the skeletal muscles that act as an endocrine organ. When muscles contract, they release many substances called “myokines” which help in new tissue growth, repair of tissue and many anti-inflammatory functions. This results in reduction of risk of catching various inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, exercise leads to increased blood flow (and higher oxygen uptake) in the body and therefore increased blood pressure and heart rate for the duration of the exercise. Repeated practice leads to a stronger heart and much more healthy cardiovascular and respiratory system.
The discipline of Nutrition & Fitness is as old as man itself. The importance of a healthy diet and an exercise regimen to keep oneself fit has been an integral part of healthcare and medicine from the beginning. It is an important part of almost every form of medicine, more so holistic medicinal disciplines or alternative medicine. In fact, in the ancient ages people used to lay a lot more emphasis on this aspect as compared to now and thus strongly believed in adopting a much more proactive approach to health as a result of which they were significantly healthier and stronger than people today. Some of the quotes below testify to the importance given to Nutrition and Fitness from the beginning of time:
When diet is wrong medicine is of no use, when diet is correct medicine is of no need. ~ Ayurveda
Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. ~ Hippocrates
He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. ~Chinese Proverb
If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. ~ Hippocrates
Nutrition and Fitness have always been a part of science from the beginning and even today are deeply studied topics in Modern Science. The different nutrients required by the body and their effect on the body as known by us today are largely a product of extensive scientific research carried out by us over the last century. Similarly, fitness is also a hotly studied domain by modern science not only for healthcare purposes but also for optimizing the performance of athletes and sportspersons. The nutrition industry has now expanded to create the specialized industry of nutraceuticals which comprises of companies selling supplements and performance enhancement products. Nutrition and Fitness is now very much a big part of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM).
BENEFITS OF NUTRITION
Eating right and supplying our body with the right nutrients it needs, heightens our endurance. This is especially important if you are an athlete or your hobbies are physical in nature, but even casual gym-goers should care about endurance.
Proper nutrition makes exercise as beneficial as possible. With proper diet a person can push him/herself longer and harder during a workout.
A well-nourished body can defend itself in a better way than the rest because good nutrition improves immunity. Minor illnesses can easily be prevented with a well maintained diet and nutrition.
Combats Existing Disease
Not only in preventing disease, nutrition helps people to battle their current ailments. Some research has shown a vegetarian diet is helpful for those with fibromyalgia. Increased intake of antioxidants is considered to be the cause. Studies have also shown that plant-based diet is effective in combating the growth of cancer cells. Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases have already shown improvement with restricted diet.
Helps maintain the right weight
Improves an individual’s performance
Beats tiredness and fatigue
Delays impact of ageing
BENEFITS OF FITNESS
The importance of physical exercise and fitness in present world is immense. In today’s society where sedentary lifestyle has become a norm rather than the exception, it has become more imperative today than ever before to increase the daily activity to maintain cardiovascular fitness, body weight and muscle size and strength.
Staying active means keeping your body functioning at a high level. Performing exercise regularly will maintain the performance of the respiratory system and heart to burn off the extra calories and keeps the body weight under control. It also improves flexibility of the joints and muscle strength.
Another main benefit is reduction in the risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death in US and other countries. Other diseases that can be controlled are Hypertension, Diabetes, Cerebro-vascular accident.
Physical fitness has one great side that most people neglect. It is immensely helpful in fighting psychological disorders like depression and anxiety. One can also get rid of insomnia by doing regular exercise and maintaining optimum level of fitness.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults (18 – 64 years of age) to partake in vigorous intensity aerobic activity for at least one and a quarter hours each week or moderate intensity aerobic activity for at least two and a half hours each week. This time can invested in any increments.
- The Nutrition & Fitness system of health is well established and perfectly grounded in modern science as well as espoused by every system of medicine, being an integral part of many alternative medicine treatments.
- It is generally used as a complement to medicinal treatment for best results.
- Nutrition and Fitness are complementary to each other and deliver a very solid combination for sustained health.
- It is the most effective system for prevention and long term health benefits.
- It is based on personalization and being tailored to the needs of every individual.
- When practised with discipline over medium to long run it can remove root cause of health problems with many other wholesome benefits.
- It is the best and most natural system for making an individual healthy, strong and resistant to disease.
- It is a purely natural system devoid of any kind of toxicity or side-effects.
- This system is best suited to complement treatments of chronic diseases.
- This system may not be completely effective on a standalone basis to cure illness and is generally used to complement medicinal treatments in such cases.
- Effects can only be seen on medium to long term adherence and require high level of discipline.
- This system is primarily meant for preventive purposes and long term health sustenance.
Malnutrition or improper diet can lead to a number of diseases; focus on nutrition can keep them away. Few major diseases that can be caused by malnutrition are:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
On the other hand, nutrition can be used as a complement to medicine to treat just about any disease. It is important for a person suffering from a particular health condition or disease to consult the doctor or relevant health expert to make the right choice with regards to diet and nutrition.
The following are the main diseases that can be treated quite effectively through exercise:
- Heart disease (leading cause of death worldwide)
- Cerebro-vascular accident
Moreover, a patient can benefit from exercise no matter what the disease because of the cardiovascular strengthening, strengthening of immunity and overall body conditioning and strengthening obtained through appropriate exercise as per the health condition of the individual. Person suffering from a certain health condition or disease should consult doctor or relevant health expert before choosing an exercise regimen.
1. Can a healthy diet help us to avoid a disease?
Yes, of course. The Harvard studies say that the correct choices about diet e.g. consumption of fruits and vegetables, less saturated fats and carbs, more unsaturated fat and fibre along with regular exercise can prevent a lot of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes etc.
2. What is the definition of overweight?
Most of the experts measure this with the help of BMI as a tool. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered as overweight.
3. What is obesity?
It is also defined from the BMI perspective. Anyone with BMI more than 30 is called obese and the ones with BMI more than 40 are known as morbidly obese.
4. Do any of the diets work on long term?
If your main aim is to lose weight, then you have to keep on using the prescribed diet and exercise simultaneously. This is because of the fact that, after losing a lot of weight, people turn back to their former lifestyle.
5. How does a diet work?
All the diets work by restricting calories. Cutting on carbs and fats is the main aim.
6. If I stop all the physical activity, will my muscles convert into fat?
Muscles do not turn into fat. But if you stop your physical activity, there will be a loss of strength and fitness. Almost half of the fitness gains will be gone in one to three months.
7. If I start a strength training exercise, how long will it take to see a visible result?
Studies have shown that the changes start as early as 2 weeks after you start exercising. How quick or how early you want to increase your strength depends on your potential and initial strength.
8. If I increase my physical activity only without cutting down on my calories, will I be able to lose weight?
Increasing only the physical activity will also help you in losing weight. But when you combine it with a cut on your calories, the process of losing weight just becomes faster.
9. I have problematic knees. What kind of exercise do you recommend?
Swimming and other kinds of activities in water is recommended. You can burn a lot of calories without hurting your knees.