But you may be surprised to learn that recent research has shown regular exercise may undo the effects of an unhealthy diet on the cellular level!
A study of mice conducted at the Mayo Clinic showed that exercise helped to prevent diabetes-like symptoms by decreasing the effects of an unhealthy diet.
In addition, exercise appeared to help prevent the accumulation of senescent cells in the mice, which are cells that can increase the risk of age-related disease and conditions.
Plus once the mice started exercising, they stopped accumulating belly fat--which is particularly dangerous and can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and dementia.
If your four food groups are Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts you may be shaking with delight right now thinking all you need to do is take a stroll around the block and you’re golden.
Not so fast.
First of all, “exercise” typically means something more than a casual walk.
Generally speaking, you should do something for at least 30 minutes a day that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat.
And if you’d rather stick needles in your eyeballs than to exercise, here are my top five tips for success:
- Pick an activity you like or will tolerate. You’ll be more likely to stick with exercise if you don’t loathe what you’re doing.
- Get an exercise buddy. You’re far less likely to skip a workout if someone is counting on you to show up, plus you can have fun talking and the time will fly by faster. (This is my friend Liana and I running across the finish line at the Empire State Marathon in 2012—we’ve been exercise buddies for years.)
- Make your goals reasonable. For example, don't expect to run five miles when the farthest you’ve ever run is from the couch to the refrigerator and back during a commercial. Even though I’ve run 26.2, I started with a mile or two way back when.
- Celebrate your little victories along the way. It’s easier to stay motivated when you can look back and see how far you’ve come.
- Remember you’ll rarely ever regret working out, but you’ll almost always regret not working out.
Just be sure to get your doctor’s OK.
A glaring omission from the study
In addition to not specifying exactly what “regular exercise” is, there was also a glaring omission in the study I quoted above.
The health price of eating nutrient-poor foods!
I don’t care what you do—you can run a marathon every week, but if you’re not nourishing your body with real foods, it’s not a matter of if but merely when will you suffer the consequences.
Here are some examples of what lacking nutrients can do to you:
Heart disease is directly connected to deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, vitamins B6, B12, D, C and E, and folic acid.
Depression can be triggered by low levels of vitamins B3, B6, and B12 as well as vitamin D.
Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are linked to vitamin D deficiency.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are associated with inadequate levels of vitamin B12, magnesium, and vitamin D.
Cancer can result from numerous possible deficiencies including vitamins A, D, E and K, folic acid, selenium, and zinc.
Type 2 diabetes is commonly seen with deficiencies in biotin, chromium, vanadium, magnesium and vitamin C.
Face the music
Now it’s time to face the music, all you fast food fanatics. You’d better start getting properly nourished or else you’ll be pushing up daisies long before your time.
I know this seem challenging, so I’ll share a personal confession about unhealthy choices:
I used to be a Diet Pepsi-a-holic in my early 20’s but one day the soda machine at work was out of Diet Pepsi so I just got a bottle of water.
I felt SO GOOD and refreshed after that water it was astonishing…so needless to say that was the end of Diet Pepsi (and all soda) for me.
Even small steps in the right direction can make a big difference.
I tell my clients to start by making just one healthy change or substitution each day. That could be things like:
- Swapping out a soda for water
- Cooking a meal at home instead of ordering pizza
- Opting for a side salad with your dinner in a restaurant instead of French fries
- Offering a crudité platter and/or shrimp with cocktail sauce instead of chips as appetizers
- Choosing scrambled eggs, yogurt or oatmeal instead of a donut for breakfast
Power the power of nutrition and regular exercise to work in creating the healthiest you that you can be!
To your health,