Why diet and exercise are critical components in a healthy programPeople desiring to better their body shape through healthy eating are encouraged that they make gradual changes. However, a recently published study points out that the most successful people are those who simultaneously combine exercise and diet habits. According to Abby King, a lead researcher and professor at Stanford Prevention Research Center, the most important thing is making these two a priority in life and having them in your mind all day long.

During the study, king and his team worked with a group of 200 overweight and inactive people, aged 45 years and above, who were taking unhealthy diets, which were lacking sufficient vegetables and fruits and had high levels of saturated fats.

How the study was conducted

According to the online published study, participants in the group were categorized n four groups; one of the groups was to make exercise and diet changes; another group started with diet changes after which they took on exercise habits; the third group first changed its exercise habits and diet later on and the final group focused on stress management strategies without getting any guidance on exercise and diet. The participants were not aiming at cutting weight but only trying to achieve healthier lifestyles. They received instructions from health educators at the start of the study after which they were provided with monthly support and device.

The main goals of the participants were to try and meet the guidelines issued by the government on physical activity, which includes doing not less than 150 minutes of moderate and intense physical activity every week like walking, eating between five and nine daily servings of vegetables and fruits and ensure that their intake for saturated fats was not more than 10 percent of their daily calories.

A look at how the participants faired

Those participants who first started with exercise faired pretty well in meeting exercise and diet goals but not in a similar way as the participants who doubled up both exercise and diet at the same time. The participants who first with diet did manage to achieve their diet goals but failed in realizing exercise goals. According to the researchers, the results obtained are quite surprising considering that most nutritionists and doctors advise their clients to make one charge first before continuing to the other. For some, this is undoubtedly a good approach but the results reinforced the fact that doubling the changes would bring better results.

King says that the study wasn’t targeted on weight loss and there was no information given to participants on how they were to control the portions and other important elements involved in weight loss. However, some of the participants were successful in losing some weight at the same time. As far as this study is concerned, there is very strong evidence on the fact that if you begin with the two changes during the start of your program, chances of achieving your healthy objectives are high.