By Justinne Lou Go, RND
“FITNESS is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise.” This adage is all too popular yet isn’t often translated in people’s lifestyles. Worse, it is often misinterpreted and abused, too. People tend to think they can just work on either one — either they try to exercise as much as they eat or just eat less and shun the exercising. But, remember, you can never outrun a bad diet and cutting calories isn’t always the best way to lose weight.
Although exercise may look like the inferior portion of the equation, it still matters as much as nutrition — not just for weight management, but for its health-supporting value as well. Whether you’re losing weight or not, exercise can still give you tremendous health benefits that are all worth the sweat.
In recent literature, exercise is gaining significant importance as part of health and disease management. In fact, a doctor I worked with explicitly said, “Sitting is the new smoking. It can kill you.” And true enough, research suggests that physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle can actually have detrimental effects on one’s health, affecting not only the physical aspect (weight gain) but as well as cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Sitting for at least eight hours a day is now one of the greatest contributors to the continuously growing epidemic of obesity.
So, try checking on your lifestyle and the nature of your work. If you’re sitting all day or at least eight hours a day and do not have an allocated schedule for exercise, I highly suggest you start prioritizing getting in more activity. Whatever gets you off your seat will definitely help. Try parking a block or two away from your office (and of course get there a bit earlier) to walk more in the mornings, take the stairs instead of the elevator as much as possible, or take a walk during your breaks instead of just sitting down and having coffee.
I personally experienced the benefits of even just 30 minutes of walking daily without even intending it to be my form of exercise. When I was working in Manila for a year, I would walk (briskly) to my office and back home, which takes me 15 to 20 minutes for each trip. I ate frequently and I can’t say I had the healthiest diet then either. And yet, I had the best body composition I ever had in my life, with body fat at 23 percent (from the usual 25 percent), balanced and good muscle mass distribution, and a visceral fat rating of 2 (ideal is less than 10). This was confirmed by an advanced lifestyle device (not your typical Fitbit) that I had attached to my body for three days as a trial for my company wherein the device indicated that my daily walking was a good activity to maintain my health.
Many of my clients have expressed their dilemma of making time for exercise due to a hectic work schedule or daily routine. However, as always, we are never too busy for something we consider as a high priority. It’s all a matter of perspective and making the necessary adjustments in your life. Find a workout schedule and routine that you think would suit your lifestyle best — whether it’s a staggered workout routine that is divided into 10-minute sessions three times a day or devoting one hour early in the morning to kickstart your day with an energy boost. And in this age of technology, we really are left with little to no excuses to get more things done. We have numerous free workout videos on YouTube and other apps. You can even book an actual trainer for a session at your house if you just can’t deal with the traffic and you’re too shy to go to a gym. This service is offered by an app called Pring.
Pring is a free mobile app which offers tutoring and coaching services. I tried this recently and it is definitely time-saving and hassle-free. The coach can even bring equipment if you don’t have any. This is definitely better than just following a video because you have actual guidance to prevent injury and personally, I think having someone watch you is motivation to do what you have to do and give it your best. You can download Pring on Google Play Store and App Store.