It is no secret that nutrition is, fundamentally, the most important aspect when it comes to fat loss.
We already covered in a previous article, how you can lose weight without exercise. You will never be able to out train your diet, and a strong nutritional base is absolutely necessary for success.
While it is important to know and understand the above, I also don’t want to lose out on the knowledge about the importance of exercise itself.
Weight loss should never be our only goal when it comes to fitness. Eating healthier and increased amounts of exercise can lower our risks for certain cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, improve our overall quality of life, and lower the risk for all-cause mortality.
To illustrate my point, I’d like to share a study with all of you.
Setup of the Study
Researchers for The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition wanted to understand if nutrition or exercise was a better determinant of all-cause mortality.
To acquire this information, the researches followed 21,935 men, aged 30-85 years old, who underwent body composition screening and maximal treadmill exercise tests to determine their VO2 max. For those interested in what a VO2 max is, you can read more about it here.
The researchers then categorized the men into 3 groups dependent upon their body fat percentage; Lean (BF% <16.7), Normal (BF% 16.7-25.0), and Obese (BF% >25.0). Within each of these categories, two sub domains were created based upon their VO2 max scores, which placed them in either a fit or unfit group. In total there were six groups.
Researchers followed up on each individual for mortality across a time span of 18 years. They compared both CVD and all-cause mortality across the 6 groups and compared them to determine which groups had the higher rates of mortality.
Results of the Study
It was noted in the study, that across all three categories (lean, normal and obese) the unfit males of each category had both higher levels of body fat and lower cardiorespiratory fitness rates, when compared to the fit males of the same category.
This makes sense, as we know that exercise can help with both of these issues, so one can conclude that participants of similar body composition, who worked out less, would have a lower fitness level and higher body fat percentage. Easy enough right? Right.
Well, the results of this study also compared different sub categories of each group to sub categories in other groups.
They found that lean, unfit men had double the risk of all-cause mortality of fit, lean men (P = 0.01). They also found that Unfit, lean men also had a higher risk of all-cause and CVD mortality than did men who were fit and obese.
Unfit men had a higher risk of all-cause and CVD mortality than did fit men, in all fat and fat-free mass categories. Similarly, unfit men with low waist girths (<87 cm) had greater risk of all-cause mortality than did fit men with high waist girths (≥99 cm).
What This Study Should Mean to You.
What the numbers and statistical data all point to, is that exercise is more important for your long term survival and health than your nutrition.
Now, that is not to say that you can eat whatever you want and be fine as long as you exercise, because that isn’t the case.
This study specifically looks at all-cause mortality and cardiovascular diseases. Poor nutrition can lead to various metabolic diseases and increase your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.
The point of both this study and me bringing it to your attention, is no matter your current weight or health status, exercise is good for you and can increase your life span.
Exercising regularly will make you a healthier and happier individual.
A lot of people struggle with their nutrition and eating properly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise during those time periods. I’d argue, that it is even more important to exercise during bouts of poor nutritional choices.
Remember that you can’t out train your diet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working on your overall health through exercise. Fitness is more than just about what your body looks like, it is about how it moves and feels. Exercising regularly can do wonders for increasing your overall quality of life, so it should be just as important as your nutritional choices.
So with all of that said, you might be left wondering what kind of exercise is going to benefit you the most? Well here is another article to help you pick between low and high intensity cardio.
Also, performance is key to proper exercise regimens, and supplements can truly give you the edge to train longer and harder, which will only help to improve your cardiorespiratory health. This article will help you to decipher which supplements will be best for you and your training.
Citation for study used: Lee, C. D., Blair, S. N., & Jackson, A. S. (1999). Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality in men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(3), 373-380. doi:10.1093/ajcn/69.3.373