Exercise is a necessary ingredient for a successful diet


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Out of 107 students surveyed, 38.3 percent have tried a specific diet. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sally Ehlers

As the obesity epidemic spirals in America, the desire for a thin shape escalates as well. As a result, diets are more popular than ever before.

According to The Washington Post, 45 million Americans started diets in 2018. In fact, starting a diet and losing weight are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions.

Keto diets, paleo diets, DASH diets and Mediterranean diets: the list goes on. But, all of these diets forget about one essential component: exercise. Nutrition is undeniably important, but so is exercise. Unfortunately, many dieters often overlook this aspect.

In fact, approximately 15 percent of American adults are on diets, whereas less than five percent of American adults participate in 30 minutes of daily exercise, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These percentages should be closer because diet and exercise go hand in hand.

Michele Olson, PhD, professor of physical education and exercise science at Auburn University, said that while weight loss with a diet alone is possible, a comprehensive plan is healthier.

“Without [exercise], only a portion of your weight loss is from fat. You’re also stripping away muscle and bone density,” Olson said. “Since working out stimulates growth of those metabolic tissues, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat.”

Dieters who do not exercise often struggle to keep the weight off for good. More than 95 percent of people relapse from dieting and regain the weight lost within five years or less, according to the health and medical blog Health and Research Funding. But, Olson addressed this concern by supporting the inclusion of an exercise routine.

“Data shows that to lose weight with exercise and keep it off, you don’t need to run marathons,” Olson said. “You just need to build up to five to seven workouts a week, 50 minutes each, at a moderate intensity, like brisk walking or Zumba.”

As diets become more and more popular, feel free to try one. But, do not forget to add the special ingredient for success: exercise.