Why Experts Suggest You Shouldn't Rely On Exercise Or Diet Alone For Good Health

We all know the importance of eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise. The American Heart Association suggests adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Regarding your diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day. In addition, about 10% to 35% of your caloric intake should come from healthy sources of protein, such as fish, lean meat, beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, and lentils.

You might think that if you get enough exercise, you can slack off when it comes to your diet. Maybe you think that if you eat a healthy diet, you don't need to worry about getting enough exercise. However, recent research reveals that neither of these theories is true. A large study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the eating and exercise habits of 346,627 individuals and found one cannot cancel out the other.

You need both for optimum health

Researchers examined data provided by the United Kingdom's Biobank Project that was collected over a span of 11 years. Results showed that the rate of mortality for people who exercised was 17% lower risk from all causes, 19% lower for cardiovascular disease, and 27% for some cancers. This was in comparison to those who ate a poor diet and did not exercise (via Sydney University). In addition, results from the research suggested that eating a healthy diet can't compensate for a lack of physical activity.

Associate Professor Melody Ding, the lead author of the study, said that regular exercise and a balanced diet are necessary for health and longevity. "Some people may think they could offset the impacts of a poor diet with high levels of exercise or offset the impacts of low physical activity with a high-quality diet, but the data shows that unfortunately this is not the case," Ding said via Sydney University. While long-term effects on exactly how exercise and diet relate to one another are not well-known, the study emphasizes how important both are to living a long and healthy life.