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Fitness and Health

Daniel Johnson
Daniel JohnsonPublished on August 19, 2022

Fitness and Health: How Nutrition and Fitness Plans Affect Overall Wellness

(A Holistic View on Nutrition and Fitness as they affect your all-round Wellbeing)

Fitness and health is a topical issue in this new world.  A huge attention is drawn on physical exercises and bodybuilding, but maybe much more on nutrition. Researchers have found several links between your nutrition, fitness and health.  Most publications in this realm have argued that your health is as good as what you eat, and perhaps what activities you take to shape your physical appearance. Thus, physical exercises and nutrition plans cannot be treated in different contexts under the subject of fitness and health. 

Before the digital or social media dispensation, people almost care less about how you are perceived in relation to what you eat and drink. Some section of the public may even term you as being too critical if they think you overdo the regular checks on what you eat, or if you are being notorious for taking exercises. However, with increased consciousness about what harm the food you eat and substances you take as drink may cause your biology, you will be forgiven to watch what you ingest as closely as you wish. Therefore, it will be clearer to an average person now if you are seen as someone who cares about what comes inside of you as food, and they may be less critical of your consciousness in that regard..  

In a very clear term, there is a direct link between what you eat and your overall wellbeing. More importantly, what comes inside of you alongside other factors determine what your physical and overall fitness entails. This article will discuss the place of nutrition and fitness as they both affect your health. However, we will begin from a general outlook of how nutrition largely affect your health.

Nutrition and your health

Nutrition and health is a lifelong subject of discussion among humans. One of the subjects of discussions you are exposed to as a young school grader is nutrition and how it affects your health. At least, you were taught the classes of food and the benefits of balancing your diets. It wouldn’t end at that level anyway. The older you grow, the more you understand why so much emphasis are being placed on this subject. Public and private authorities that concern themselves with advocacies relating to peoples’ wellbeing take the slightest of chances to jump on this discussion. For example, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers good nutrition as an essential for keeping current and future generations healthy across their lifespan. This is because healthy diets help children to grow and develop properly, thus reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Similarly, adults that eat healthy diets live longer as they have lower risk of obesity, reduced possibility of having certain cancer types, heart diseases and other life-threatening ailments. The human biological build-up has ways it prevents these diseases, manage them and avoid complications if it was fed properly and well.

Quick Reality Check:

The difficulty of eating healthy might be a serious one to contain

It is an uneven economic landscape throughout the world. While some countries are enjoying the largesse of their natural resources and proper management techniques which trickles down to their positive welfare, others are suffering huge maladministration and lack which definitely affect their economic outlook, and healthy living. This simply means that while some people are able to access healthy food options, some are practically not able to do the same for one reason or the other. This may make people settle for foods that are higher in calories, and lower in nutritional values. Understandably so, there could be an imbalance of activities and lack of expected sync between their fitness and health. Nonetheless, everyone should find the all-important balance between these two. We will discuss how you can achieve this as we continue in this article. 

Important highlights on how nutrition affect physical fitness & general health 

Did you know that 3500 calories equal about one pound of fat? This means you’re likely to gain one pound of fat when you take 3500 more calories than your body can burn. This is neither good for your physical fitness nor overall biological wellbeing. Since food substances give your body the tools and information it needs to function well, what this implies is that eating wrongly passes improper instructions to your body and this causes ill-health. Within such prism and outlook, the following are some of the ways your diet can affect your health;

  • Nutrition and fitness affects your chances of having cancer

Oncology researches have revealed that your diet can be partly responsible for cancer development. This is because your diet (the quality and types of food you eat) is responsible for up to 40 percent of all cancer types. While more researches may be required in each of those instances to reveal more facts, one thing that appear to be common to all cancer types is that healthy diet, physical activities and healthy weight can help reduce cancer risks. There also exist an exposition that diet alone can neither be the cause nor cure of cancer.

  • Protein and Vitamins taken in right quantity helps your fitness growth

When you consume inadequate protein or your diet completely lacks it, you are exposing yourself to the risk of muscle wasting, poor immune system, liver problems and lack of energy. None of these is helpful to your fitness plans or challenge because you need muscles, tissues, blood cells, hormones and enzymes all working together to consolidate your exercise plan and offer you the fitness your desire. The same applies to vitamins and minerals. A host of them helps you to form and maintain your skins, bones, teeth and soft tissues. Similarly, they are essential for your body metabolism. Anything short of this and you may just have opened up your guards for rickets in children, osteoporosis in adults among other things.

  • Dietary fibers help digest food substances and lower your cholesterol level 

As a fitness conscious individual, you are usually warned against salty foods, advised to lose weight with definitive workout plans, and to eat fiber rich food. These advises are for your own good.  In fact, if these advises are followed, you have a huge benefit of not spending much time in the gym or on physical sots to achieve the results you desire. Dietary fiber rich diets reduce your cloud cholesterol level as they usually bind cholesterol particles in the digestive tract.

  • Sugar or carbohydrate rich food substances are not your fitness’s friend

No fitness conscious person gets along with eating added sugar and carbohydrate rich meals. These are two parallels that should never meet. Understandably, sugar act as the body’s main source of energy and fuel but when too much of this is consumed, you can easily gain weight, lead your blood sugar on the high side and expose your biological framework to quick risk of diabetes, blood pressure and hypertension. For a fitness freak, too much sugar or carbohydrate meal get you to do more rounds and sets of your workout plans to shed weight or lose pounds.

  • Fatty foods are as dangerous as carbohydrates

From a practical perspective, a gram of fat is approximately 9 calories. This means that the bigger the fat-rich diets you consume, the more calories you gain, and the more your fitness goals are hampered. This is not to mean that you will not eat fatty foods at all. Of course fat is good for your health in its own rights. It is only an eye-opener to the fact that you should rather consume healthy unsaturated oil. Plants oil are therefore much more recommended. Fat pose serious threats to organs as liver and heart, thus increasing chances of liver failure, heart attacks, and in fact topple your fitness aspirations.

Harmful Effect of Poor Nutrition on your Health and Fitness: A Quick Overview

A lot has already been discussed about the significant link between what you eat, your fitness and overall wellness. The cycle will only be complete if we quickly review the possible harmful effects of poor nutrition on your health and fitness. Poor nutrition in this case refer to any form of imbalance in your diet and how this affects your body negatively. Here are some of the ways you can get affected.

The Risk of Obesity

It has been emphasized that your nutrition is directly linked with your body weight. This is why most people watch their body mass index (BMI) curiously after eating certain types of food. Overweight and obesity are two related but easy defect of poor nutrition. Eating healthy and sleeping well alongside enough physical activity can help both the young and old grow healthily, and prevent them from being overweight. Otherwise, you may be adding to the statistics of 20 percent young people and 42 percent adults who are considered to be overweight in the US.  Being overweight in itself is not a good one. Worse off, being overweight predispose you to other ailments as heart disease, diabetes and some cancer types.

Heart Disease and Stroke, High Blood Pressure and Nigh Blood Cholesterol

Nutrition studies have revealed that the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. However, high blood pressure is initiated when you consume too much sodium. Current nutrition guidelines recommends that you should be getting less than 2300mg of sodium per day, but Americans consume over 3,400 mg daily putting them on a high risk of blood pressure, hence being predisposed to heath disease and strokes. More than 70 percent of sodium comes from processed and packaged foods eaten by Americans. This is why fitness trainers and bodybuilders frown hard on the consumption of these substances, and advise eating low fat and calorie as well as high fiber foods.

Risk of Obesity and Cancer

Another deadly effect of poor nutrition on your health is the development of diabetes condition. This condition has a direct relationship with your blood sugar level. It has also been said that overweighed people are more predisposed to diabetes type 2. At this point, your body becomes less able to use the insulin they make. This is a very deadly condition as it could degenerate into internal organ failure and death of affected person. Worse off, about 88 million US citizen have this condition, and 80 percent of these people are not aware they do. Eating of sweetened and processed foods have also been linked with cancer development. 13 types of cancer including endometrial cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer have been linked obesity and weight gain.

Combining Fitness with Nutrition

Incorporating fitness training, physical exercises and effective nutrition plan into your daily activities will definitely lighten up your overall wellbeing. However, when you discuss fitness with anyone, what comes to mind is exercises like physical activity, nutrition, diet and healthy eating targeted at weight loss. There is more to this anyway. Fitness broadens down to your overall quality of life, and so it touches much more aspects of your life, especially when combined with effective diets.

Other than offering you a quality of life narrowed down to proper physical fitness, healthy appearance and protecting you from nutrition linked diseases, the roles physical activities play in improving your life extends to brightening up your mental conditions. Good nutrition and effective fitness plans protect you from mental illnesses as depression, stress, anxiety and disorders (like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma). More so, you are offered lightened feeling mostly revealed in your high level of self-esteem. Other surprising benefits include:

  • Gaining sharper memory

  • Getting better sleep

  • Acquiring more energy and stronger resilience to cope

  • Development of better immune system,

  • And of course the benefits of improved concertation

Ways you can incorporate fitness into your everyday activities

Most people when they hear anything about fitness think it is about huge drills and tough rolls. Thus, they are either not interested or they think it would be cumbersome to subscribe to such activities. Heads up! You don’t have to take huge drills like bodybuilders or athletes before you incorporate fitness plans into your everyday living. You can take as little and effective exercises as:

  • Taking brisk walk for up to 20 minutes daily

  • Biking, hiking or swimming intentionally for fitness reasons

  • Take reasonable walk instead of driving everywhere

  • Take your dog or other pets for work in the morning or evening

  • Being active with your house chores are sometimes enough exercises

  • Having evening times with your kids or playing with them could help you lose some calories. Kids are energy that playing with them could stretch your body actively.

  • If you feel like making big changes, you can begin with jogging, joining a gym, and playing structured sport like joining a football team.

Special Case Consideration: Fitness and Nutrition in Pregnancy

From several online communities and forum, questions have been raised about what fitness schemes and nutrition plans are effective for pregnant women. Most antenatal classes also seem to concentrate efforts on this aspect of living as it could have direct implication on the health of both the mother and the child. This is not surprising considering the fact that pregnant women usually have biological alterations in their system during this period. The resulting effects hit differently on different people depending on their body systems and hormonal compositions.  Signs as fatness or weight gain, unusual food appetite, and emotional imbalance among others could be seen. These then raise questions as to how one can maintain healthy pregnancy in relation specifically to nutrition and fitness plans. We will shed more light on these as follows.

Fitness activities during pregnancy

The first question that will likely hit the seal of your mind seeing this is “how important is fitness during pregnancy?” The simple and straight forward answer to this is that fitness and exercise activities are very important during pregnancy. These activities helps to improve your posture and decrease common discomfort by reducing backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. You will also be boosting your mood and energy levels as fitness activities help you to get better sleep.  There are facts that fitness activities during pregnancy may prevent gestational diabetes while also helping you to build stamina necessary for labor and delivery.

In as much as fitness activities are good to help you maintain healthy pregnancy, you are not expected to remain as physically active as you were before pregnancy. You are only allowed to continue your activities in moderation. For safety considerations, you are advised to allow your gynecologists and obstetrician to guide and watch you closely. If you are the type who doesn’t exercise regularly before, you are advised to begin some activities during pregnancy upon consultation with your health provider. Still, you are not advised to take new strenuous activities.

Generally, there are dos and don’ts to exercises and fitness plans if you want to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Certain health conditions may however stop you from taking fitness activities. Medical conditions as asthma, heart diseases or diabetes may be red flags. Pregnancy related conditions as low placenta, bleeding and spotting, weak cervix, threatened or recurrent miscarriage and previous premature birth of history of hard labor may mean that you need to consult your doctor before taking any fitness or exercise programs. The question therefore is, what exercises are generally safe during pregnancy.

Safe exercises during pregnancy

Realistically, most exercises are safe to maintain health pregnancy if they are done with caution, moderately and under the supervision of a professional. However, the safest and most productive activities to do during pregnancy are swimming, brisk walking, low impact aerobics, steps or elliptical machines and indoor stationary cycling. Jogging has to be done in moderation during pregnancy especially if you were doing it before your pregnancy. Overall, these highlighted activities are recommended because they benefit your entire body, pose little risk of injury and can be continued until birth.

Stretching exercises are also good for pregnancy. You can do these before or after exercises. Simple stretches include:

  • Shoulder rotation

  • Swimming

  • Neck rotation

  • Ankle rotation

  • Leg shake

  • Thigh shift

As a pregnant woman, Kegel and tailor exercises are also good for you during exercises. While Kegel exercises help to strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, uterus and bowels, tailor exercises strengthen your pelvic, hip and thigh muscles which help to relieve low back pain. Examples of tailor exercises are tailor sit and tailor press. 

Basic guide for pregnant women’s fitness activities

As a pregnant woman, you might need to begin your fitness activities with warming up stretches and few minutes of cardiovascular activity. During the core activity, you are advised to:

  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and good support bra

  • Wear recommended accessories for your exercise type.

  • To prevent injury, ensure you conduct activities on flat or level surfaces

  • Consume enough calories to meet pregnancy needs

  • Ensure to have eaten at least 1 hour before exercise

  • Hydrate with drinking water before, during and after exercise, it will aids metabolism

  • Do not exercise to exhaustion point.

If you perceive any medical condition or changes in your system, kindly consult your healthcare provider before going further with your fitness plans. You might also have to consult your doctor before stating off with further exercises after delivery.

Nutrition during pregnancy

What you eat to maintain healthy pregnancy is as good as what exercises you take for fitness concerns during the same period. Professionals recommend appropriate weight gain, balanced diet, regular exercise as well as vitamin and mineral supplementation for a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy. This solidly explains why the concept of fitness and nutrition are inseparable in the subject of pregnancy management.

There are dietary and caloric recommendation to maintain healthy pregnancy. Studies have revealed that approximately 300 extra calories are required each day. This could only come from balanced diets. Sweet foods and fats should be lowered to a minimum. If fitness and nutrition recommendations are properly followed, you might not have problems with pregnancy symptoms as nausea and constipation.

Fluid intake are as important to maintain healthy pregnancy and improved fitness level during pregnancy period. Professional recommendations is that you avoid alcohol as much as you can while you drink several glasses of water daily. This is in addition to fluid in juices and soups. You might have to talk to your healthcare provider on the right recommendations in a bid to cut down on the consumption of caffeine and artificial sweeteners as well.

There are lots of beneficial food to eat during pregnancy.  This ranges from vegetables to fruits, dairy products grains and proteins. Nonetheless, there are food substances to avoid during this period. These include but are not limited to:

  • Unpasteurized milk and food made from them

  • Refrigerated smoked seafood

  • Hot dogs and luncheon meals

  • Refrigerated pate and meat spread, and 

  • Raw as well as undercooked meat, egg and seafood.

You are advised to wash and rinse all raw produce thoroughly, clean cutleries and accessories properly, cook proteins to safe internal temperature verified by food thermometer, and promptly refrigerate all perishable food. Certain minerals, vitamins and supplements are recommended for your proper fitness and health during pregnancy but they are to be used to requirements and as guided by your physician. One drug you might be familiar with at this time is folic acid. This helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defect (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord). 

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