Just being in a consistent exercise routine does not guarantee that you are getting the most out of your exercises. Here are a few suggestions to help you reap the maximum benefits from exercise.
Aside from physical activity, the three most significant factors for a healthy body are hydration, nutrition, and sleep.
Water, water, water! Our bodies are composed of roughly 60% water. We constantly lose water throughout the day through sweat and urine and other body functions like breathing. Constantly losing water means we need to frequently replenish that water if we want to stay hydrated. Just how much water we need daily is subjective and will depend on various physical factors, both internal and external. There are some loose guidelines to follow that can help you determine what the correct water intake range for your body is. Most people should aim to drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water daily.
The bottom line here is to stay hydrated. If you are thirsty, drink water. If it has been over an hour and you have not had any water, drink water. As with any nutrient, your body should ingest water in consistently spaced, smaller amounts rather than a large amount all at once.
How we fuel our bodies is critical and not just for physical fitness. Nutrients impact everything from our brains to our sleep. They are generally considered the most crucial components in health and wellness.
Hydration is again important here. Not only does staying hydrated give you more energy, but it also helps prevent overeating when consumed with meals and snacks.
Ditch the simple carbohydrates! While it is hard to say goodbye to rice, pasta, and potatoes, there are much healthier avenues for getting the proper carbs your body needs. Carbs are our body’s primary fuel source, so we need them, but we need healthy and beneficial carbs, like whole grains and sweet potatoes. A healthy way to reduce your overall intake of carbs is to replace them with other filling but healthy foods. Vegetables make a great replacement since they are filling and low in calories.
Cut back on refined sugar and sodium. Our bodies were not created to process them and cannot do so effectively, and overindulgence leads to weight gain. Keep a wary eye out for food products claiming “low-fat” and “low-sugar.” The fats and sugars in these foods are typically replaced with sodium and other sugars, often making them less healthy than their counterparts. Generally speaking, the less processed a food item is, the better it is for you.
The stigma about fats being bad for your body is not entirely true. Our bodies need certain kinds of fats to function correctly. Fats such as avocados, nut butter, and coconut oils are good for the body, but steer clear of regularly indulging in fats from things like bacon and potato chips.
Some people believe that sleep is mainly necessary to have energy the next day and not much else. While sleep certainly impacts our energy levels, it does so much more for us than that. Sleeping also helps regulate our hormones, impacts our appetite, and affects our mood.
Hormone regulation is necessary for our body to function correctly and efficiently. Hormonal imbalances (which happen when adequate sleep is lacking) can lead to weight gain, amongst other issues.
Another way that sleep deprivation can affect our weight is by what it makes us crave. We crave fats and sugars when we are sleep-deprived because our body wants what it perceives as a good energy source. While sugar-heavy foods like candy provide an energy burst, that burst is also followed by a crash. With proper sleep, we can use our bodies replenished energy and slowly ingest healthy energy sources throughout the day to maintain a consistent energy level.
Our bodies use the time we spend sleeping to recover and rejuvenate, which means that proper sleep also leads to higher energy levels and better moods throughout the day. Both energy and mood come into play when exercising, so the more rest you get, the better your workouts will be.
How and when you exercise is matters, but it is more important to make sure you are taking care of your body outside of the time spent exercising. Hydration, nutrition, and sleep are the pillars of a healthy body and mind. If done correctly, they are the main contributors to getting the most out of your exercise. Properly caring for your body will yield a plethora of beneficial results, including increased happiness.
Looking to get in more physical activity? We are excited to announce The Corvallis Clinic’s 3rd annual Run for the Health of It 5K!
When: Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 – 8:30 AM
Where: The Corvallis Clinic Asbury Building, 3680 NW Samaritan Dr., Corvallis
Learn more and register online at corvallisclinic.com/race. All proceeds will benefit local high school athletic departments.