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Researchers at the University of Sydney have found that exercise alone doesn’t make up for a poor diet. The researchers point out that working out daily in the gym or running several laps is not better than avoiding processed and fatty foods. 

Exercising and eating a healthy diet can lower the risk of death

According to the researchers, rigorous exercise will not counteract the negative impact of poor diets and risk of death. However, individuals who exercise regularly and maintain healthy foods had the least mortality risk. Essentially, it implies that maintaining a healthy diet and exercising could be the right way. 

A large group of British individuals (360,600) were studied to determine the individual and cumulative effects of food and exercise on the incidence of death from all causes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. The UK Biobank Project provided such information, a continuing, extensive biomedical research that tracks individuals’ behavioral, biological, and health changes over time.

What is healthy eating?

According to the researchers, healthy eating entails consuming at least five portions of vegetables and fruits every day, two fish portions per week, and low consumption of processed and red meats. 

Individuals who frequently exercised and consumed healthy foods showed a 17% lower risk of death from all causes, a 19% lower risk from heart disease, and a 27% lower risk from specific malignancies compared to those who lived a sedentary life and ate a poor diet.’

Lead study author Melody Ding said, “Both regular physical activity and a healthy diet play an important role in promoting health and longevity. Some people may think they could offset the impacts of a poor diet with high levels of exercise or offset the impacts of low physical activity with a high-quality diet, but the data shows that unfortunately this is not the case.”

This study highlights the value of physical exercise and a healthy diet for reducing mortality risk to the maximum extent possible. Therefore, professor Ding concludes that clinical advice and public health messages need to focus on promoting dietary guidelines and physical exercise for enhanced health longevity.