Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are both diet and exercise needed to keep me healthy?"
Can I do one instead of the other? I love food.
Maintaining good health requires many things, but a good diet and regular exercise are definitely part of the process. Eating well and following a healthy diet are important to help provide your body with the right balance of nutrients and vitamins. There is nothing wrong with enjoying food and eating as part of a healthy lifestyle, and loving food can be a healthy part of any life as long as you remember to keep your total calorie intake within balance most of the time (there are always special occasions!). However, regular exercise is also very important for maintaining health as this helps promote good cardiovascular health, joint health, muscle flexibility, and can even improve sleep, GI function, cognitive function, and mood. Many people will spend some part of their life worried about their weight, and diet and exercise can help with this. However, calorie restricting in order to avoid exercising or excessive exercising to 'make up' for poor nutrition are not optimal scenarios for promoting overall health, even though they may maintain a normal body weight. Without sufficient vitamins, minerals, and even fats that come from a healthy diet, normal physiology is disrupted. Likewise, a low-calorie diet doesn't provide the benefits to the heart and lungs and muscles and joints of regular exercise. The best solution is to try and incorporate both into your lifestyle.
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