This week is Exercise Right Week – a campaign aimed at encouraging all Australians to start undertaking a regular exercise regime to benefit their health. This means not only being active but also doing the right kind of exercise for your health and level of fitness.
What are some of the health benefits associated with being active?
- Assists with body composition, weight loss and maintenance
- Improves mental health – depression, anxiety and also may boost self esteem
- Reduces risk of chronic disease – heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer
- Supports healthy sleep patterns and overall energy
- May help to boost immune system and ward off colds and flus!
- May help to lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure
- Improves bone mineral density – especially important for women aged over 50
How much exercise for adults is recommended?
On average, we should engage in the following amount of exercise weekly:
- 2 x resistance strength sessions (weight training)
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (brisk walking, hiking, yoga, low impact aerobics) or 75 to 150min of vigorous intensity physical activity (jogging/running, swimming, boxing, high impact aerobics) or a combination of both.
How can food enhance your workout and recovery?
As a Nutritionist, my aim for campaigns such as Exercise Right Week is to help create awareness not only around the benefit of exercise but also how to eat to support your workout and recovery.
Unless you are engaging in light activity such as a stroll around the block or a stretching session or feel ill exercising with food in your stomach, a small pre-workout snack can be beneficial to provide you with energy (fuel) to complete your exercise session. With a bit more energy on board pre-workout, we are able to work harder at the session, which in turn can help us, see results faster. Carbohydrates are the best pre-workout fuel and some examples of good pre-workout snacks include:
- 1-2 x fruit, nut and seed bliss balls
- ¼ cup trail mix using fresh dates, coconut, berries and pumpkin seeds
- 1 x piece of fresh fruit
- 1 x fresh vegetable and fruit juice (eg beetroot, ginger, celery, lemon and carrot)
- 1-2 wholegrain crackers or rice cakes spread with nut butter or ricotta
To help your body recovery and to stabilise appetite post work-out, its important to eat a snack or meal which contains some complex carbohydrates and protein. If you can’t make it to a meal within approx. 60mins, some quick ideas include:
- homemade nut/muesli bar – using oats, banana, nuts and seeds
- smoothie using plant-based milk, fruit and hemp seeds or powder
- high protein Greek yoghurt with berries and nuts/seeds
- handful of raw nuts/seeds and a piece of fruit
- left-over roasted root vegetables (carrot, beetroot, sweet potato) topped with hummus or ricotta
- boiled egg and spread of hummus on 1-2 wholegrain crackers or rice cakes