Physical activity, five good reasons to get back on the road in 2024


Clear goals, progression, rewards, plan B, sharing, planning. At the beginning of the year, advice is pouring in on how to maintain good intentions time which more than others (perhaps only September can compete with January) encourages us to rewrite the list of what we would like to change with a new twist. Do more sporteating better, losing weight, giving up bad habits and unhealthy habits are all the rage. Because it’s goodWe have always been told that for cardiovascular health it reduces the risk of tumors and metabolic diseases, improves mood, if we were to look only at sports andphysical activity (but that goes for everything). But when we find out, something else appears in more detail, which applies to different types movement, better if supported yes but not necessarily hard. what are we talking about We see.

Movement can help your memory

Fresh from December, the study is published on Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseasewhich shows, with data in hand, how brain in people who perform physical activity. In fact, when we observe the brains of a large number of people – in this case, those included in the analyzes were over ten thousand – and try to relate it to the level of physical activity performed, a correlation appears. Who does the most physical activity has a larger brain volume, both in terms of gray matter, white matter, and specific areas such as the hippocampus (an area involved in Memory and in space navigation). The authors write that they indicate a neuroprotective effectphysical activity. On the other hand, several studies have observed a lower risk of dementia in those who move more.

“We found that even moderate levels of physical activity, such as taking less than 4,000 steps a day, can have a positive effect on brain health.” – he declared David Merrill from the Pacific Brain Health Center in Santa Monica, among the authors of the research – This is far less than the often suggested 10,000 steps, making it a more achievable goal for many people.”. On the other hand, the 10,000 step question is not well supported by evidence, as we told you, mainly because it is not a measure that really captures the level of physical exercise you are doing, and it is not suitable for everyone. .

Physical activity helps you sleep better

If you decide to move more, you may also see benefits in sleep. Although the general recommendation is actually not to exercise close to bedtime — so that we don’t stay too awake for endorphins and regulate our core temperature, notes Johns Hopkins Medicine — physical activity promotes good sleep. Among the latest to suggest this were the Japanese, who asked some people to change their habits: more movement (usual moderate/vigorous activity) instead of minutes spent sitting or exerting little effort. The result after a few days was this: movement and better sleep (though only for women).

More pain tolerance

Movement would also help increase the pain threshold. This is actually suggested by a study that came out of Norway that tested how much the level is physical activity – or sedentary lifestyle – was related to the ability to tolerate pain (specifically experienced by immersing the hand in ice water). Dates that appeared – details at Plos One – it is a correlation between greater physical activity and greater tolerance painalthough the mechanisms are still not entirely clear, the authors admitted (the production of endocannabinoids associated with physical exercise is only one hypothesis).

A great helper for the mind as well

Anyone is one sports can confirm this. Among the greatest benefits of physical activity are the effects onhumor and self-confidence. Movement, hard work, training will help you feel better. In fact, it is no coincidence that physical activity is also recommended by health institutions for mental health. And new evidence continues to accumulate on this topic. A big review on this topic published last year British Journal of Sports Medicine confirmed how physical activity improved symptoms of depression and anxiety, but also how it was beneficial for pregnant women or mothers, people with kidney disease and HIV. But not only that: the effects were better with moderate and vigorous physical activity, but they were valid for different types of activities – from aerobic and resistance exercises to yoga – and they were enough to be observed for a few weeks.

Movement saves thousands of lives every year

There are those who have tried to quantify it benefits in terms of deaths avoided by the movement. Among the latest to do so is the OECD, together with the WHO: for Europe, the canonical 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week would prevent more than 10,000 premature deaths per year, almost three times as much if doubled (not counting the savings in terms of diseases, from cardiovascular diseases, from diabetes to tumors and savings for health systems). Pursuant life expectancy on average, according to the recommendations, the gains could be several months: this may seem small, but it is much more than the gain recorded in more than a decade due to improvements in health and social-working conditions, the report reminds. And life expectancy would increase by more than a year just looking at those who move less today.


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