A healthy body is built and maintained through diet and exercise, which most of us know by now. To prevent chronic diseases such as arthritis, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease requires both fitness and nutrition. Specifically on the topic of exercise, in addition to preventing chronic disease it aids in the supporting healthy: weight, muscles, bones, joints, increase sleep, and energy on a daily basis.
It’s common to find that many people are stuck on the thought that participating in a little bit of cardiovascular (cardio) workouts is enough. Cardio is great for many functions in the body and help reduce risk of heart disease, and diabetes. Dietitians recommend a healthy balanced diet, and both aerobic (endurance) exercise and muscle-strengthening (resistance) training combined. Aim for exercising a minimum of 3 times a week for at least 30-60minutes and setting goals to achieve 5 workouts weekly if possible.
What is Cardio? Cardio is workout that raises your heart rate, typically using larger muscle groups over a sustained period of time, including low to high intensity movements with aerobic energy. A few examples of cardio exercises are fast/brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and cardio machines found in a fitness gym/facility. The goal to cardio is to keep your heart rate elevated for 20 minutes or longer. Maybe you are thinking, I walk at my job so, I exercise daily already! Well, although many of us walk constantly in our jobs, this is actually considered daily activity, not exercise. Walking is great for your health especially if you go beyond what you do on a daily basis, with that in mind, increasing the speed of your walk to a fast brisk walk can help aid in burning calories too.
Why strength train? Also known as resistance or weight training that uses movements and tools to increase strength through muscle contractions with resistance force. This level of exercise can be done at home or in a gym. Examples of strength training are free weights, weight machines, medicine balls, resistance bands, or your own body weight.
Try to incorporate some strength training exercises 2-3 times a week, these can be added to a 30 minute cardio session as well. Using resistance bands is a good place to begin. Look for resistance band workout videos online and in stores. Resistance bands and other strength training tools can made with house hold items, bought online or in most super stores and in retail sporting goods sections. Need more information on how to start at home? Strength training program for your home
- Add strength training to your workout. One of the best ways to prevent early muscle fatigue and the loss of bone density that comes with aging is to incorporate strength training. AAOS.org
- Physical and mental health benefits that can be achieved through resistance train-ing include: improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury. It also helps you maintain flexibility and balance and helps you remain independent as you age. ACSM.org
What’s your workout worth? A basic vigorous workout can burn ~ 250 calories and can certainly burn many more calories with increased time and effort.
Your workout can be undone with your food choices too, a serving of French fries can easily be worth the 250 calories you worked off. So keep healthy food choices in mind for before and after workouts.
Exercise Better with Nutrition Tips:
- Pre-Work Out: Take in foods 30min-1hour before your workout to give you energy. Try: fruit, string cheese, yogurt, jelly sandwich, granola or sports bars. Avoid high fiber foods.
- Replenish: We store carbohydrates in our muscles known as glycogen, you want to replace those losses with some quick digesting carbs and low fat protein
- Rehydrate: Drink water and replace fluids and electrolytes, after an intense workout that lasts more than an hour. This is when a sports drink comes in handy.
- Rebuild: to recover and start the muscle repair having a quick digesting snack from protein imminently after a workout. Try: milk, protein or smoothie drink, yogurt, boiled eggs, string cheese or a lean plant protein.
- Avoid: high fat and high fiber foods after exercise. These foods can slow down digestion with carbs and lean proteins. Aim for a quality meal 2 hours after your recovery drink/snack.
Foods mentioned above are available at one of our 21 dining locations on campus!
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations:
Cardiovascular Exercise: Adults 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Resistance Exercise: Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
Flexibility Exercise: Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
Exercise does not mean you have to go out and start running. We all have different physical fitness levels. Do participate in safe exercise and consult your physician before beginning a new workout plan.
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Hospitality Dietitian | Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD | firstname.lastname@example.org