F | Diet Mantra

F: FITNESS TRIANGLE, FOOD PYRAMID

The Fitness Triangle

A well-structured exercise routine should include cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility training. These three aspects of fitness are of equal importance and can be thought in terms of three sides of a fitness triangle.

 

1. Cardiovascular Fitness :

This is the base of the triangle, the foundation of fitness. The heart is the most active muscle in the body and regular exercise makes it work more efficiently. The type of exercise that conditions the heart is called aerobic exercise. Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or skipping. A minimum of 20 minutes, three to five days of the week is necessary to improve the functioning of the heart, lungs and circulatory system.

 

2. Strength Training:

This is the second side of the fitness triangle. Strong muscles allow you to do activities with increased energy and ease. Strength training improves bone density, builds strength, enhances the metabolism, improves posture and shapes the body. You can strength train on various types of equipment in a health club, gym or at home. Train each major muscle group two to three times per week.

 

3. Flexibility Training:

This is the third side of the fitness triangle. Studies indicate that stretching is crucial for every sport or fitness activity. Flexibility exercises keep the body supple, flexible and free from muscular stress. They also help increase blood flow and nutrient supply to joint structures, relax muscles, mobilize the joints and improve posture. Often neglected, this aspect of fitness is as important as cardiovascular and strength training. Include stretching in the warm-up or cool down phase of your exercise program. And better still, do a Yoga or Pilates routine twice or thrice a week.

 

The Food Pyramid

Use the food guide pyramid to help you eat better everyday. Each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients you need. No one-food group is more important than another – for good health you need them all. Go easy on fats, oils and sweets, the foods in the tip of the pyramid.

The base of the pyramid consists of the cereal, rice and pasta group. These foods contain carbohydrates, which our body needs in the greatest amount. To get adequate fiber, choose high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat bread or brown rice.

The next level of the pyramid comprises of fruits and vegetables. These are carbohydrate-rich foods that also contain essential nutrients such as Vitamins A and C, folate, iron, magnesium and potassium.

The third level of the pyramid represents proteins. The body requires fewer servings of protein than carbohydrates. The meat group supplies zinc, while the milk group provides a rich-source of calcium.

The fourth level is fats, oils and sweets. The body requires these foods in very small amounts.

 

Is this guide appropriate for weight loss?

Yes. The food-guide depending on the servings consumed is appropriate for planning food intake of as few as 1,200 calories to as many as 3000 calories. To keep calories low, choose the minimal number of servings and make sure these choices are low in fat.

Although the recommended servings seem excessive for weight-loss, it is important to note that the serving sizes are very modest.

 

What counts as one serving?

Breads, cereals, rice and pasta

* 1 slice of bread
* ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
* ½ cup of cooked cereal

Vegetables

* ½ cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
* 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables

Fruits

* 1 piece of fruit
* ¾ cup of juice
* ¼ cup of dried fruit

Milk, yogurt and cheese

* 1 cup of milk or yogurt
*1 ounce of cheese

Meat, Poultry, Fish, beans, eggs and nuts

* 2 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
* ½ egg

* ½ cup cooked beans

Fats, oils and sweets

Limit consumption, especially if you want to lose weight.