What is more important nutrition or exercise? Nutrition is essential, but exercise is essential

Nutrition or exercise. At present we still want to make ourselves see ourselves and make others see that one is more important than the other. This just does not make sense and it’s a mistake, and I’ll explain why.

Both are important. Nutrition is essential, and exercise is simply essential.

Absurd questions and even worse answers

“70% is nutrition and 30% is exercise” (or other percentages) or “without nutrition, all training does not make sense”. These types of phrases are very common and it is very sad because they are totally false, and they are often said by “professionals”.

70% nutrition. But let’s see, and what do you know? We are transmitting a message to the dangerous, contradictory and absurd population, and much worse because of this, because we are professionals.

Professionals, be they exercise or nutrition, should never fall into the error of trying to quantify the importance of one action or another. Both are important, we are a bit objective and neutral, because in the end it seems that we are selling a product so that we consume it at any price, and it is really worrying.

When it comes to improving your physical condition and “getting fit”, exercise is a priority

It is logical, to improve your physical condition exercise will be the main ally . If you want to improve your strength and your cardiorespiratory capacity you will not get it with nutrition or with a “miraculous diet” (they do not exist). The only option will be to start performing strength and endurance exercises.

Here I leave you some training options if you are a newbie in the gym , although the ideal is that a qualified trainer supervised you and guided you according to your characteristics and your goal:

  • Start training at the gym: a circuit routine for gym novices
  • Total newbie: the routine you should follow in the gym to start getting fit

This does not mean that nutrition is not important or that you do not have to pay attention to it. Of course I do, but if you start training at the gym or start runningor cycling, it does not mean that my eating habits (if they are adequate) have to change excessively. I will simply need a different energy input , but it is difficult to say general things at this point.

A person may be eating excessively and badly and should both exercise and eat better and probably have to reduce their caloric intake, while another person may need to increase their strength and muscle mass and both their training and their diet will be different , having in this case to increase your caloric intake and most likely your protein intake (you will surely have to increase it). Going to a qualified nutritionist is definitely the best option.

But, logically, if I want to improve my physical condition and “get fit”, there is no more: physical exercise yes or yes .

Nutrition is essential, but exercise is essential

Stay with this phrase, and I’ll explain why it is.

Exercise as medicine – evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases . This is the article that was published in 2015 in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports , one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world, and about which my colleague Gabriela Gottau already reportedin an article here .

The 26 diseases analyzed were:

  • Psychiatric diseases : depression , anxiety , stress and schizophrenia.
  • Neurological diseases : dementia, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis .
  • Metabolic diseases : obesity , hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular diseases : hypertension , coronary artery disease, cerebral apoplexy , heart failure and intermittent claudication.
  • Lung diseases : COPD , asthma and cystic fibrosis .
  • Musculoskeletal diseases : osteoporosis , osteoarthritis , back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cancer .

Well, this article reports that, with a high level of evidence, very high, which gives rise to a type A recommendation (it is sustained and developed with the highest possible level of scientific evidence), physical exercise is, from the point of view of its potential preventive value in the pathogenesis (origin and evolution of a disease with all the factors that are involved in it) of a pathology, the most effective medicine to prevent and avoid many of the pathologies .

Even so, once the pathology has been established, in order to avoid the specific symptomatology associated with this pathology, that is, with the effective potential value of diminishing symptoms and the chronification of the pathology , there is still greater evidence that the most Effective is physical exercise, and we no longer talk about improving physical fitness and quality of life. That is why physical exercise is simply essential.

When you talk about making a diet to modify the body composition of a subject, for example to lose weight , obviously nutrition is a fundamental pillar , and you will achieve it only with nutrition, but it will not solve the problem and that problem will go away to repeat again, that without a doubt, and all the scientific research that exists in the field sustains it.

Why? Because there are problems that lie beneath an obesity , for example, where no medicine and no food are able to arrive. There are certain alterations to which there is no medication or food today that allows fix, repair, improve that problem that exists under these pathologies of obesity.

However, the proper exercise itself (and I stress, adequate), is the only thing that has proven to get there and solve it . Therefore, the exercise is in all the treatment guidelines of almost all pathologies as the first treatment or therapeutic intervention .

Not moving us kills us, no matter how much we eat well

We can affirm it this way and the science is clear about it. Not moving us kills us, no matter how much we eat well . Obviously, feed us badly too, but to affirm this is a physiological reality.

As I reported in an article here , is more than demonstrated that a subject with low physical condition has twice the risk of dying, despite having a certain degree of obesity or overweight . Those people who have better physical condition have twice the risk of death from any cause, and this is key.

If we had to choose, there is no doubt, I already commented on another article here , it is preferable to be overweight and active, to be slim and sedentary , and this is more than justified from the scientific point of view and there is no discussion.

For example, the combination of low aerobic capacity and low muscle strength is associated with twice the risk of heart failure , even in people with a normal body mass index.

This question of why exercise is so fundamental and is at the basis of all this is not the strongest argument with the fact that one by the process of aging and the passage of time has a series of processes and events associated with it neurophysiological that cause the subject to lose muscle mass and strength , especially strength. Processes like:

  • Denervation and atrophy of muscle fibers (type II).
  • Neuronal loss .
  • Decreased motor neurons of the spinal cord and the ventral horn of the cord.
  • Decrease of motor units .

That is, we must consider the dynapenia (loss of strength and physical performance associated with age) and sarcopenia (gradual loss of muscle mass) that if we had to return something would be the levels of strength to the subject.

This occurs with the passage of years yes or yes, and the only thing that can reverse this process is physical exercise . It is not going to reverse a dynapenia with a nutritional strategy. It is obvious that inadequate nutrition can add to this process of neurophysiological deterioration, but a subject who is adequately nourished will not stop the dynaptic process with anything other than physical exercise.

Going into more detail, strength training is the best way to maintain health and prevent diseases . In fact, and as another example, a recent study has once again shown that, in elderly or obese people, strength training is no longer an option, it is a necessity (adequate strength training, I add). And so there are many more examples.

Obviously, the sum of physical exercise and proper nutrition is the best option

What we already know but do not do Exercise and adequate food and on a regular basis . Although I focused more on physical exercise in the previous point, nutrition is also very important.

Include fruits, vegetables , fish , …., on a regular basis and avoid sugars, alcohol , …. if we already know it well, it does not need to be extended in this article. Both are vital, as I said earlier, nutrition is essential, but exercise is essential . Stop giving percentages or make absurd claims without knowledge.

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