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Everything in Moderation? is this a cop-out modern phrase?

There’s a saying going around that it’s 80% about your nutrition and 20% about your physical activity. This also means you’ll never out train a bad diet/food intake. But it also means that if you’ve dialled down your diet/food intake then the exercise you do will make a massive difference.

So this little phrase can be taken in many different contexts. If you’re training and exercising correctly and you’re still not getting where you want to go, you need to look at nutrition. If you’re doing a great job with nutrition but not losing the weight or toning up you need to look at physical activity. It isn’t an excuse though to do no physical activity and only focus on your diet. You definitely need to be moving and working that body for those benefits to your health. If you’re doing both really well and still seeing no improvements or changes you will need to start investigating reasons why. Perhaps your GP or Physio or Trainer can help you with this, start a conversation with them next time you see them. You may also benefit from seeking a referral to a Nutritionist or the like for more specific dietary advice.

I’d also like to talk about our other good old saying about ‘Everything in Moderation’. Please think about what this means. If you did everything in moderation you’d be saying to yourself that moderate amounts of junk and healthy foods, moderate amounts of exercise and rest, moderate amounts of clean living and risky living, moderate amounts of indoor to outdoor time, plus anything else you can think of in terms of good vs bad habits.

Now we know for a fact that your body requires high or large amounts of vegetables, healthy fats, water, minerals and vitamins to be healthy but requires very little or no sugar, processed food, sugary soda drinks, industrial seed oils. In fact, if you reduce these components to almost none your health will improve dramatically. So moderation here is an area that you’d be best to tip towards the healthy options and reduce the unhealthy options.

If we look at moderation in terms of physical activity compared to inactivity you’ll also see that increasing your activity levels will give you benefits to your cardiovascular system, your muscular system, your strength and movement ability, reduce your risk of heart, diabetes, and many other diseases. Decreasing your physical activity will send your risks of disease to high levels, leave you tired, weak, fat, and with poor movement patterns which in turn can cause injury to your body structures such as knees, hips, spine, shoulders and neck simply due to weakness and poor patterning.

There was a very interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently which looked at keeping knee joints healthy. These are great points and are from Melbourne research Professor Flavia Cicuttini and are echoed and supported by ESSA – Exercise and Sports Science Australia.

“It's time to recognise that carrying too much surplus fat can harm joints by producing inflammatory chemicals that can damage cartilage on the inside,” Melbourne researcher Professor Flavia Cicuttini​ says.

"We need to get people talking about this. Body fat isn't inert – it's very active tissue that produces inflammatory molecules that have been shown to damage joints. This means that if you're 20 kilos overweight, it's worse than if you're just carrying 20 kilos of concrete – you're carrying 20 kilos of metabolically active tissue that's doing extra damage to the joint," says Cicuttini, who heads Monash University's Musculoskeletal Unit.

“As health problems go, knee osteoarthritis might not have the same scary ring to it as cardiac arrest, but when sore knees make physical activity painful, it has implications for preventing and managing other chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which can be improved by regular exercise” points out Prof Cicuttini.

"The holy grail of osteoarthritis is finding a way to protect cartilage. We don't have a medicine that will do this, so anything we can do to help prevent damage to the cartilage is helpful," Cicuttini says.

Besides keeping excess weight off by healthy eating and exercise, including strength training and cardiovascular exercise, ESSA spokesman Alex Lawrence also has this advice:

"The body hasn't evolved to be still. We know that exposing bodies to repetitive strain isn't good and sitting for long periods is the equivalent of a constant repetitive strain," he says. "Regular exercise is protective against osteoarthritis, but some people will be predisposed to the problem, even though they do everything by the book. We're all different and many people have movement impairment that they have developed over time, such as a foot that rolls inwards that can expose the knee to unwanted stresses and set them up for knee osteoarthritis later on."

This is where being assessed for good movement patterns in your exercises and your gait (walking and running) will make an important difference on how successful your training program is. Remember last month we were discussing movement retraining and stability/mobility phases of the integrated fitness template? Well once you have been assessed you will be able to do the right things for your movement patterns in these phases. We offer full physical assessments at our studio that will show up muscle imbalances, tight/short muscles and strength deficiencies at the knee, hip and ankle joints. Your Physio, Podiatrist or Allied Health Professional can also assist you with these assessments.

To read the full article see this link:

So just to recap: Improving your nutrition will improve your health and may result in weight loss. Advice on healthy eating can be found from a range of sources and should not be taken from product advertisements. There is no money to be made by big companies in the produce and meat or dairy industries, as such you won’t see large advertising campaigns shouting the health benefits of these foods. You’ll only hear from companies who stand to make more money from you buying their packaged product. So take their health claims with a grain of salt and do your own research or seek advice from a qualified Nutritionist or appropriate person. Product reps are not appropriate people for dietary advice. If that person stands to gain from your purchase their advice will not always be in your best interest.

Everything in moderation’ is not always the right advice either. So rethink this excuse when you’re saying it to yourself to excuse what you might be doing. Start to notice if this is a regular occurence of a habit that is not in your best interests in your quest for a healthier body.

And lastly fatty tissue is also metabolically active and can cause damage to joints due to its inflammatory nature. So keeping your weight in a healthy weight range with healthy food and exercise is imperative to keeping your knee joints pain free. Think also that with painful knees you be more restricted in exercise options. So stopping the creep of excess weight before its too late is important step to keeping healthy joints and bodies.

Yours in Healthier Bodies and Less Bodyweight,

Sarah Booth

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