You can't exercise away poor dietary choices, study finds...

A new study finds that exercising to make up for eating poorly doesn’t really work in terms of lowering mortality risks. Similarly, eating well but remaining inactive may help lower your risk of dying from certain cancers to a degree, but does nothing for all-cause or cardiovascular disease mortality, the researchers found.
Researchers also observed that those who exercised the most and consumed the healthiest food significantly reduced their risk of dying from all causes, from cardiovascular disease, or from certain cancers.

Researchers found that people who engaged in high levels of physical activity and also ate a high quality diet had lower mortality risks. For anyone who believed that one can exercise away poor dietary choices, this study suggests otherwise. People who engage in one or the other lowered the risk of mortality to a lesser degree. Study corresponding author, associate professor Dr. Melody Ding, told Medical News Today: “These groups still do better (and statistically significant) than the group with poor diet and lowest physical activity, but the group with the best diet and moderate or high physical activity levels do the best!”

Cardiology dietician Michelle Routhenstein, who specializes in heart health, and was not involved in the study, told MNT: “The study results are no surprise to me. Many people have come to see me in my private practice after suffering a heart attack when training for their fourth or fifth marathon, or right after doing a CrossFit exercise”.  “When I do a comprehensive evaluation of their lifestyle, it is apparent that they thought their intense daily exercise regimen would make up for their poor, unbalanced diet, and it simply doesn’t.”

A high quality diet is considered to be  about 4.5 cups or more of vegetables and/or fruit per day, two or more servings of fish weekly, and less than two servings of processed meat or less than five servings of red meat weekly.

The best results
Compared to physically inactive individuals who ate the lowest-quality diet, those engaging in the highest activity levels and eating the highest-quality diet reduced their risk of all-cause mortality by 17%. They also reduced their mortality risk of cardiovascular disease by 19% and of PDAR cancers by 27%.
In terms of the interaction between physical activity and diet, Dr. Ding said, “Diet plays a similar role in mortality risk in those who are physically active and those who are inactive, and vice versa.”

Living longer
 “When it comes to exercise, we are looking ideally for 150 to 225 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity, about 60 minutes of low to medium intensity resistance exercise and regular stretching. [Start] your day with a balanced breakfast and [have] therapeutic foods, such as lean protein, vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, in line with your hunger/satiety cues.” — Michelle Routhenstein, nutritionist.
“In order for your diet to be truly heart healthy, it needs to be long-lasting,” added Routhenstein. “Quick fixes do not work, and starting a diet plan that won’t last long term isn’t effective.”

Good news as well - even if you are just a weekend warrior, exercising only on your rest days is better than none at all.

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