You might have already heard of it before; dietary intakes contribute to significant changes in terms of weight. How about the remaining factors?
It will come from Exercise/Physical Activity > Managing Sleep and Stress > Supplementation.
Hold your horses people! Before you tell yourself that just dieting alone is enough, there are still benefits to exercise that diet itself cannot contributes. When you exercise, skeletal muscle protein breakdown (MPB) to create a negative net protein balance (-NPB). Feeding your body with dietary protein, one can create a positive net protein balance(+NPB) through skeletal muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This would not happen if there is no MPB present which is through physical exertion or exercise. The macro-nutrients you consume would simply be converted into triglycerides and store as adipose tissues subsequently. Confused? We are just trying to impress you.
Basically, what we are trying to say is that without enough exercise or physical activity, all that excess food you consume may eventually be converted into fats (even protein). This is one benefits of how exercise works hand-in-hand with diet to allow individuals to gain muscle and perhaps lose fats at the same time.
Now, we will further elaborate on the major benefits of exercise that diet cannot provide
1. Increase functional strength
There are many definitions of "functional strength", but ACE Fitness define it perfectly as "enhancing the performance of movements so that an individuals' activities of daily living is easier to perform". It is as simple as that. Have you ever experience tripping or falling down in a bus or MRT, hurting your back when you are about to carry something heavy?
By exercising, you are able to strengthen your neuromuscular system, joints, muscles and bones to allow them to work collectively together to make you stronger, stable and better-looking ;D. This allows you to "cushion" your fall, apply "proper brakes" when you are about to trip without hurting your joints. This is something that diet alone cannot provide, and this reason alone should trigger you to start exercising if you are not.
2. Reduce cardiovascular risk
When you first start exercising for a long time, the first session usually places a significant metabolic demand on your body, especially the cardiovascular and muscular system. This why you may experience dizziness, nauseous or headache.
Now imagine your body is a car, and your heart is the engine. The engine will use various energy such as fuel, air, and electricity to create a small combustion to move the wheels. Same goes for your cardiovascular system, when you start exercising, the working muscles requires both oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to move. This energy comes from the heart (engine) and blood vessels, transporting the necessary energy over to your working muscles.
Why is it useful you may ask?
We are not even talking about increasing performance to move your car faster, a stronger heart will reduce cardiovascular risk when you get older, perhaps allowing you to live better and longer. Over a period of time exercising, your cardiovascular system will eventually adapt to have lower heart rate and higher blood volume. It is beneficial as your heart is able to pump a bigger amount of blood to your working muscles in a beat instead of two or three. This means decreased blood pressure, reduced risk of heart diseases, vasodilation (opening) of blood vessels allowing faster removal metabolites and waste products in the body.
3. Improves mental function
We are no brain experts but literature shows that exercise generally improves mental function such as cognitive performance, performance in task relating to the brain (1) and even prevent dementia without the use of medication.
Remember about strengthening of the neuromuscular system in regards to tripping or falling in the MRT? Exercise can enhance neuromuscular system as neural adaptions take place and motor units increased, resulting in quicker reactions and body functions.
The benefits may not be immediate but have you ever heard of the saying "you reap what you sow"? Although you might not be able to be aware immediately, but it will definitely benefit you in time to come.
(1) Kramer AF, Hahn S, Cohen NJ, Banich MT, McAuley E, Harrison CR, Chason J, Vakil E, Bardell L, Boileau RA, Colcombe A. Ageing, fitness and neurocognitive function. Nature. 1999;400:418-419.
Stay healthy and do let us know what you think.
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