We don’t say anything new when we refer to sports and physical activity as one of the best ways to feel better, both physically and mentally. Ancestral wisdom has been reminding us of this with the expression for almost two millennia Mens healthy in healthy body, or how important exercise is to maintaining a healthy mind.
Exercise is an important part of preventive strategies for many chronic conditions, such as obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and mental health problems. World Health Organization (who) warns that up to five million deaths a year could be avoided if people were more active.
The same organization estimates that one in four adults is not very active and that more than 80% of the adolescent population does not do enough physical activity. Reversing this trend shouldn’t be difficult. It is enough to be aware of the importance of moving more, with more intensity, and of sitting less. Because you don’t have to make big changes to see the benefits.
Physical activity, one of the four pillars of good health
The WHO recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, or 150 minutes a week, to stay healthy. But these 30 minutes a day account for only 2% of the entire day. Is this enough to notice effects and feel better?
Physical activity alone is not enough to achieve beneficial health effects. In a study conducted on the effects of sedentary lifestyle on health, the authors analyzed the causes of mortality in adults with a low-active lifestyle.
The conclusion was that exercise is not, by itself, enough to prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes or obesity if the person spends a lot of the day sitting, even if they do a little physical activity. Therefore, despite the benefits of physical activity to improve health, it is not enough to reduce the risk of disease.
Other study, also along the same lines, concludes that performing 30 minutes of daily exercise reduces the risk of prematurity by 80% in people who spend less than seven hours a day sitting down. But the same does not happen in people who spend between 11 and 12 hours a day sitting. A healthy lifestyle therefore requires more than 30 minutes of exercise if you spend a lot of time sitting in a chair.
Nor can exercise counteract the negative effects of dangerous habits. This is noted by Dr. Álvaro Aceña Navarro, a specialist in Cardiology and a member of the Sports Cardiology Unit of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation. “Sport does not compensate for bad habits”, but should be considered as one more complement.
Even, the expert acknowledges, in some cases “it can even be dangerous if certain behaviors such as tobacco or alcohol consumption are not mitigated.” Therefore, as Aceña admits, it is important that physical activity is accompanied by other healthy habits such as healthy nutrition (based on fruit, vegetables, grilled foods, fish or poultry), avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking or consuming alcohol Y to rest well.
Sport, always with responsibility
Achieving good health does not mean that we should be exercising all day. It is about incorporating physical activity gradually, through activities such as walking, and adapting exercise to our physical condition. From the Sports Cardiology Unit of the Jiménez Díaz Foundation they recommend “doing sports with common sense”, especially if we have not done any type of physical activity in recent months.
This will help us avoid both muscle injuries and heart problems. We must pay attention to any worrisome symptoms before or during physical exercise, or if we have a family member with a disease that may pose a risk. “From 40-45 years of age or in people with risk factors, it is important to do a cardiac evaluation before practicing sports”, warns Doctor Álvaro Aceña Navarro.
From the aforementioned Unit, and in their interest to guarantee that sports practice is carried out safely, they have a consultation dedicated exclusively to sports habit, where they carry out a clinical interview and do a physical examination, in addition to non-invasive tests, all in a single day, to “guarantee peace of mind when doing sports”.
In addition, the Madrid hospital has experience in caring for the health of great elite athletes such as members of the Spanish basketball team, of which the Quirónsalud Group is the Official Medical Service. A few months ago, he performed medical examinations on the players of the women’s and men’s teams before leaving for the Tokyo Olympics that begin on Friday, July 23. Athletes have successfully undergone tests such as analytics, an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram, and various imaging tests.