Female ride2work
Both exercise and diet matter

For years debate has pitted healthy lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise against one another in a battle of relative importance.

What would make me live longer: riding to work, or carrot juice for breakfast.

Now a major study into metabolic health thinks it has the answer—both are important, but both together are best.

A paper from the The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) at Boston University looked at 2389 participants and assessed their adherence to American physical activity guidelines (PAG) and dietary guidelines.

They also compared levels of adherence to the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS)—the clustering of key cardiometabolic risk factors, such as abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and high blood pressure.

"The primary finding of our investigation is that adherence to both PA and dietary guidelines in middle adulthood is inversely associated with odds of MetS cross-sectionally, and with a lower risk of developing MetS later in life prospectively," the researchers said.

"Particularly, we observed a dose-response association, in which there were lower odds or risk of MetS for those who met both the 2018 PAG and demonstrated higher or optimal adherence to the DGA, which is suggestive of a potential synergistic effect of PA and diet on cardiometabolic health.

"Overall, our findings underscore the importance of maintaining both a regular PA schedule and following a healthy diet in middle adulthood to lower risk of developing cardio-metabolic disease in later life.”

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

Sign up for an annual Bicycle Network membership for just $99 (save up to $86). Offer ends Sunday 20 June 2021.

Join now