Everyone knows exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, right?
The Mayo Clinic reminds us of the benefits of regular exercise: “Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.”
The Mayo Clinic article even lists seven benefits of exercise:
- Exercise controls weight
- Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
- Exercise improves mood
- Exercise boosts energy
- Exercise promotes better sleep
- Exercise puts the spark back in your sex life
- Exercise can be fun
All of the above is true. And that’s why exercise is the perfect companion to a plant-based diet. Not only will you gain the benefits of exercise, but you’ll also gain the benefits from healthy food choices because remember the ADA says, “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”
Specifically, a plant-based diet offers these health benefits as stated by the ADA:
- A vegetarian/vegan diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease
- Vegetarians (including vegans) appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels,
- Vegetarians (including vegans) appear to have lower blood pressure,
- Vegetarians (including vegans) appear to have lower rates of hypertension
- Vegetarians (including vegans) appear to have lower rates of type 2 diabetes
- Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower body mass index
- Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower overall cancer rates
But there’s another reason: vegan athletes can consume more calories than nonathletes. That means there’s room for a little pie or ice cream.
Jack Norris, RD reminds us that legumes are a fantastic protein-source. But he also says that if you don’t eat legumes and you don’t exercise, a healthy plant-based diet may be more difficult to design and follow:
“It is very hard to design a vegan diet that meets lysine requirements for a person who does not exercise daily without including legumes, quinoa, or pistachios, without having too many calories. It is much easier to do for regular exercisers whose calorie requirements are higher – the low lysine foods will add up to provide enough.”
“The reason why many raw foodists athletes appear to thrive on the diet while many non-athletes struggle with raw diets may be that the athletes are able to eat many more calories, thus meeting lysine needs with low lysine foods.”
So not only does exercise improve one’s health, it gives you a little nutritional wiggle room that makes eating a balanced diet much easier.
Sadly, many people will use purely diet to control their weight, thinking that maintaining an ideal weight is enough to keep them healthy. It’s not true. Exercise is essential. A healthy lifestyle includes both proper eating habits and exercise.
Want some resources of vegetarian and vegan fitness? Here you go:
- No Meat Ahtlete: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/
- Vegan Fitness: http://veganfitness.net/
- Vegan Bodybuilding: http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/forum/