Choose to be fit – Daily Pioneer

In today’s world, fitness can only be attained with regular efforts, writes Vinay Sangwan

Fitness is an idea that is constantly being reinvented and has become all the more relevant in India in the past two-three years. It reflects very well on the society that at least a section of the population has become almost adamant to devote time to their fitness goals on a daily basis. Despite long working hours, people resolve to take time to hit the gym. In at least some houses, refined vegetable oil, fast foods and deep fried snacks have been replaced by Mustard or olive oil, Mediterranean dishes and roasted healthy nuts.

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Sedentary lifestyle of people which includes waking up or leaving home at 7 am in the morning, sitting in office for 9-10 hours and reaching home around 9pm had started inviting diseases like blood pressure, cardiac problems and diabetes even in younger age groups. Two-three decades ago, blood pressure and diabetes were thought of as diseases that people get only when they start getting old. But as  people’s lifestyle became increasingly sedentary, they started getting affected with these diseases as early as in their late 30s.

But, the good thing is that people have already started working towards beating this pattern of health issues related to a desk-bound lifestyle. If you are one of those who haven’t made personal fitness a priority yet, start now!

Eating habits, of course, play a major role in staying healthy. Eating a well- balanced diet can help a person get all the nutrients and calories required for daily chores, including workouts. When it comes to taking proper diet for workouts or other energy consuming activities, choosing the right kind of food becomes all the more tricky. One needs to eat the right kind of food at the right time of the day.

Snacking or munching repeatedly is one of the unhealthiest habits in our society. It is important to note that regular snacking or munching is not a bad thing if snacks are chosen wisely. But in India, snacking often translates into consuming deep fried snacks like namkeens and chaats. For instance, peanuts are a really good source of protein. But, instead of going for roasted peanuts, people prefer to dip them in flour, add spices, and then deep fry them for snacking. Here are some the factors you should think about:

Calorie Control

People who want to tone up have to lose some body fat which requires a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories than one burns daily. People who are overweight or obese often benefit from eating 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day to shed pounds. However, as long as you burn off more calories than you eat — by reducing calories, increasing physical activity or both — you should effectively be able to lose fat.

Fiber Benefits

Fiber-rich foods help people tighten and tone their bodies because fiber boosts satiety. But, fiber calories aren’t fully absorbed by your body. A study published in 2009 in The Journal of Nutrition found that increasing dietary fiber tends to reduce overall calorie intake — and the risk for fat gain in people. Researchers who conducted this study found that for every one gram increase in dietary fiber, body fat decreased by a 0.25 percentage point. Fiber-rich foods include fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole-grains, nuts and seeds.

Protein Perks

Protein is an important component of a toning diet because it helps reduce excess body fat by increasing satiety and boosting calorie expenditure. A study published in 2012 in Nutrition and Metabolism found that people who lowered their overall calorie intake by 500 daily and consumed 0.73 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily — which equates to 102 grams per day for a 140-pound woman —— effectively reduced weight and body fat. Healthy, protein-rich choices include egg whites, lean meat, skinless poultry, seafood, soy products, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, seeds, seitan and legumes.

Foods to Cut

While its often difficult to cut junk food intake, doing so makes it easier for people to burn fat and get toned up. When trying to lose unwanted body fat, replace sugary drinks with water. Also, limit — or cut out entirely — other added sugars, sweets, sugary gums, candy, fried foods, baked goods, high-fat meats, high-fat dairy foods and refined grains, such as white bread, white rice and regular pasta.

Clubbed with healthy food, exercise plays a vital role in staying fit and healthy. There are a number of studies showing that shorter; high-intensity workouts can offer the same benefits as longer, moderate exercise sessions. In many cases, those shorter workouts can actually be more effective in improving athletic performance than a long, slow jog.

Many of these routines include muscle strengthening elements, helping you cover your bases while still getting in an aerobic workout. You can get into shape even if you can only dedicate 30 minutes or so at a time to working out. So, make sure you start working towards a healthier lifestyle in the second month of the new year even if you did not start in the first.