“When measures to combat chronic disease are started in one’s 60s and 70s, there are still definite benefits.”
—Richard S. Rivlin, MD, professor of Medicine Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Cause and effect is a basic principle in writing compositions. In an analysis of heart-healthy practices, the application of the cause-and-effect principle is also a good guide. If we eat more calories than we burn in our 24-hour day, the result is caloric overload, which results in increased body weight. It can be temporary or more permanent, depending on whether this is a consistent practice or a once-in-awhile behavior.
The same principle applies to a fitness regimen. The daily pursuit of cardiovascular exercise with biweekly doses of strength training has a positive effect on maintaining an optimal weight, providing the energy needed throughout the day, and supporting the body’s ability to benefit from the rest and sleep cycle. Exercising only occasionally has a detrimental effect on the overall well-being of the human body.
Although good diet choices are not ranked higher than physical activity in the health equation endorsed by international health organizations, there is compelling evidence that the absence of either one will not result in the same benefits that combining these two positive lifestyle practices can provide. Exercisers can and do end up with coronary heart disease if they don’t practice good heart-healthy dietary choices. Conversely, an excellent heart-healthy diet will not contribute enough benefit to overcome the cumulative effects of inactivity.
The other important fact to remember is that it is never too late to begin a lifestyle that includes good diet and physical activity choices. Researchers have documented in studies reviewed by the Weill Cornell Medical Center (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213152540) that lifestyle changes make a difference at any age and can even affect the negative outcomes from years of poor choices.
At Touchmark communities, the Life Enrichment/Wellness and Dining Services programs support the efforts of residents and staff to seek a healthy balance of good nutrition and physical fitness. To find out more about healthy lifestyle choices, call or visit us during February.