Your daily habits determine your overall health. Not observing any changes in your health even though you are spending quality time at the gym? The problem might be in your food habits, sleeping habits, or how you deal with stress.
While exercise is important for a healthy life, making it a priority may not give you positive results. All the factors that play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle are interconnected and need to be balanced. So, here are 5 things that are more important than exercise.
1. Managing Stress
Stress management is an integral part of living a healthy life. Stress can be due to relationships, work, or responsibilities. Sometimes, chronic worry, perfectionism, rigidity, and the need to get everything right can also cause stress. When unrealistic expectations are not met, you get disappointed, which eventually leads to stress.
Stressors promote the release of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, which can negatively affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. In the long run, this can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and asthma.1 If you are exercising and trying to stay fit, it becomes more important to manage cortisol levels as an excess of this hormone can increase abdominal fat, reduce muscles, and impair immunity.
Following A Healthy Diet
What you eat determines your health. Binging on unhealthy food after an intense workout session will do no good. When you have certain fitness goals to achieve, you need to stay away from all foods that won’t support you. Go for foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, iron, calcium, and vitamins C, K, and E to nourish your body and stay energized.2
Want to lose weight and gain muscle? Starving won’t help. Follow a systematic diet plan so that you know what goes in and your efforts are not wasted.
Drinking Enough Water
Water is essential for the body’s normal functioning. It improves circulation, relieves constipation, aids weight loss, maintains body temperature, and transports nutrients.
The amount of water you drink every day affects your physical performance. Dehydration can increase fatigue, reduce motivation, and make it difficult to exercise.3 Your body loses a lot of water through sweat during physical activities. So, it’s all the more important that you stay hydrated before, during, and after working out. This will regulate your body temperature and help you exercise better.
4. Getting Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is important for your physical and mental well-being. It helps your body recover from damage, boost your immunity, and is necessary for cognition. When you get quality sleep, your day is more productive as your mind and body get enough rest.4
Getting insufficient sleep on a daily basis can lead to weight gain as poor sleepers tend to eat more calories. Sleep well and long enough will not only regulate your weight but also boost muscle growth as deep sleep triggers the release of the human growth hormone.
5. Knowing Your Purpose
When you set goals, you know what you have to work for. Not setting goals makes it difficult to keep a track of your progress. Whether it is weight loss or quitting an unhealthy habit, set a target and the time within which you want to achieve it.
Why do you want to stay fit? How will it help you? Knowing why you do the things you want to do, having a purpose in life, will keep you motivated and ensure that you eat, sleep, and exercise well for a long time.
|↑1||Dimsdale, Joel E. “Psychological stress and cardiovascular disease.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 51, no. 13 (2008): 1237-1246.|
|↑2||Importance of Good Nutrition. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services|
|↑3||Popkin, Barry M., Kristen E. D’anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. “Water, hydration, and health.” Nutrition reviews 68, no. 8 (2010): 439-458.|
|↑4||Why Is Sleep Important?.