At the height of my fitness, I was running a minimum of 3 miles every day and completing a rigorous strength-training circuit three to four times each week. My personal trainer had to constantly remind me to take a rest day and about exercise vs. nutrition for health. This year, physical health has jumped back up on my priority list after a couple-year gap, but working out is no longer priority number one. You get more bang for your buck (or time) with nutrition than exercise.
Rest is My Top Priority
It may seem counter-intuitive, but rest and sleep are hugely important not only for mental and emotional health, but for physical health too. As far as exercise vs. nutrition for health, nutrition can do a lot more to ease you into your rest for the day.
Quality REM sleep is when your brain stores memories and when your body works to rebuild the muscles that were broken down via exercise throughout the day. And it’s something that most Americans don’t get anywhere near enough of.
There Are Only So Many Hours in the Day
Assuming you sleep and work 8 hours each during the week, you are left with 8 hours of free time on weekdays. Now, assume that roughly 2 of those hours are for eating and 2 are for commuting. Now, we’re left with 4 hours, which are likely being used for exercise, cooking, daily household chores, and getting ready for the day in the morning.
What if an hour could be freed up by meal-prepping, and another hour could be transformed from an intense strength and cardio routine to a 20-minute walk? Maybe you could add some rest to your nightly routine to ease into quality sleep and restoration. When it comes to exercise vs. nutrition for health, as long as you are eating whole, high-quality foods, you don’t need to “work them off,” and can free up more time in your day for rest.
Incorporating Movement Into Your Routine
What if you could incorporate enough movement into your day that that 20-minute walk could be eliminated, too?
Personally, I work at a standing-level desk, with a tall stool. When I began considering the idea of a standing desk, my chiropractor warned me that standing all day is just as bad for our health as sitting all day is. (A nice reminder from my bartending days).
What our bodies crave is regular changes in position. I try to adjust my position every 20 minutes or so. Since this is also how often you should be resting your eyes from computer monitors, I actually have reminders set on my computer throughout the work day to look away and adjust my position every 20 minutes.
Other tips like parking farther away from buildings, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, holding walking meetings and doing calf-raises while you work at your standing desk can all help incorporate more movement into your regular routine.
Exercise vs. Nutrition for Health: Movement is Still Important
The human body was designed to move, not sit all day long. However, sometimes fitting an intense workout routine into an already-busy day adds more stress than value. And for women, too much exercise can even be detrimental to health and wellbeing.
For me at least, it makes more sense to incorporate movement into my daily routine and focus on eating a nutrient-packed diet of real food. How do you incorporate movement into your day?
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