By JOHN BOBALIK
John Bobalik is an exercise physiologist and coordinator of Purdue University Calumet’s Fitness Center, a comprehensive exercise and workout facility for students, faculty, staff and community members. It also serves as a laboratory setting for fitness management students.
Q. What’s more important in effective weight management: exercise or healthy eating?
A. Research indicates that relying on exercise alone as your salvation for all your nutritional sins will not work for long term weight control. Conversely, healthy eating by itself will not prevent weight gain as you age.
Successful weight management for a lifetime requires both exercise and healthy eating. Here’s why:
- Exercise, in the form of strength training, will help maintain (and in many cases increase) muscles mass, which, in turn, will keep your metabolism—your body’s ability to burn calories—at a high level. The higher your metabolic rate, the faster and more efficiently your body burns calories. Aerobic exercise also will help boost your metabolic rate. Both types of exercise will assist in weight control and provide you with plenty of energy and add quality to your years as you age.
- Eating healthy, nutritional food in the proper amount will fuel your system and provide energy for everyday living, as well as help manage your body weight, all of which complements the benefits of a good exercise program.
- Healthy eating may require small, incremental changes when making the transition from poor nutritional choices. Here are some tips in making a dietary transition:
- Start by reducing the quantity of food you eat.
- Change the time of day when you eat the most calories. Consume the most calories at breakfast.
- Change the quality of food you eat. Cut down on fast food.
- Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three, large sit-down meals.
- Join a weight watchers group, or go with healthy pre-cooked meals.
- Stop snacking on high calorie/low nutrition snacks. Go with healthy/low calorie/high nutrition choices.
- Don’t eat while driving a car, watching TV or sitting at the computer. Designate one area as the place where you eat.
- Keep a food log or diary. If you know you have to write down and be accountable for what you eat, you may think twice about it before putting it in your mouth.
Filed under Fit Tip.