When I made the lines at the supermarket without social distance (or any discretion), I heard a mother of two children comment something to the patient cashier. The point: although it had been more than six months since he had turned 50, he was in good health.
Apparently, he did not seem to perceive the passage of time very strongly until that morning. It was then that he realized that all the years had fallen on him.
This woman related that one of her children had forgotten something at home just when they were on their way to school. Realizing it, they had to rush back for it.
Between surprised and resigned, the mother narrated how her muscles committed the impudence of not obeying her when she wanted to run. When she wanted to run, This time, she had been unable to reach the desired cruising speed. On so many other occasions, the same one had allowed him to be punctual when the time was running against him.
Such a “lowering of the arms” of his locomotor system forced him to rethink the long-remembered slogan, “Not years weigh, but kilos. But not. She perceived that what weighed, in effect, was not the years: it was the physical inactivity.
One of the great scholars of sports training, Kazimierz Fidelius, established a classical biomechanical model. The human being was conceived as a “biomachine” made up of three large systems.
First, the direction, represented mainly by the brain. Second, the power system comprises all the organs involved in the energy transformation processes—finally, the so-called motor system, the locomotor system.
According to Fidelius, the movement would be responsible for improving and providing feedback. Thus, it would achieve an improvement in the physical condition and, therefore, health.
Modernity makes movement more dispensable.
When the advances of “modern man” supply the locomotor system, the need to generate movement to move is eliminated.
This strategy is becoming increasingly fashionable through motor vehicle nonproliferation of devices such as electric scooters. Its use among the younger population should be discouraged because it invites physical inactivity from an early age.
The risk of suffering from what is known as hypokinetic diseases is also increased. They are those in whose appearance physical inactivity plays a fundamental role. This is the case, among others, of obesity, hypertension, or type II diabetes.
These pathologies, which are part of the letter of introduction to entering the elderly, today make their debut much earlier than expected. They give rise to the concept of acquired aging, in which the lack of physical activity plays a leading role.
In the middle of the last century, Jeremy Noah Morris, a doctor, raised the first hypotheses related to the effects of physical activity on health. The researcher found that the collectors of the double-decker buses had up to a 30% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to drivers. The reason: going up and downstairs.
From this moment on, numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of physical activity in our body’s main organs and systems.
How physical activity affects our body
Thus, scientific evidence indicates that people who have led an active life have a lower risk of suffering from dementia in the nervous system. Similarly, longitudinal studies indicate that the chances of suffering from cancer seem to be attenuated by an active lifestyle.
At the cardiovascular level, it contributes to the heart being less fatigued. Thanks to physical activity, this organ pumps more blood with each heartbeat. Therefore, it needs to beat fewer times per minute to provide oxygen to the entire body.
If the activity is also of a certain intensity, it increases the capacity of the lungs to absorb and transport oxygen, delaying the onset of fatigue.
Muscle fibers, meanwhile, improve their vascularity. This favors the uptake of glucose, reducing its concentration in circulation. In other words, there is greater control of the so-called “blood sugar level.”
Other adaptations are generated thanks to physical activity—for example, greater absorption of calcium by the bones, which reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Also, the mobilization and subsequent oxidation of adipose tissue (fat) to convert it into energy. It is a process that helps control body weight.
In addition, it increases the elasticity of the arteries, helping to reduce hypertension, and increases the release of endogenous opiates (such as endorphin), which promote the feeling of well-being.
However, little is known about what happens when people who are active stop being active.
Loss of activity
Some studies have confirmed the reversibility of the benefits of physical activity in the absence of it. Among others, bone and muscle mass are lost, weight is gained, or cardiorespiratory capacity deteriorates.
However, the vast majority of these investigations are carried out in people who have been subjected to periods of immobilization (bedridden patients), astronauts, or elite athletes. Therefore, the results are not transferable to the general population.
To be able to more or less clearly identify what happens when a person who has been active stops being so, it is necessary to design a longitudinal cohort study. Follow up a population group for a specified period.
It should collect information on the level of physical activity that a person performs and variables related to their lifestyle and health. This is the case of nutrition, sleep, or work habits, as well as the control of the different pathologies of the participants during the study.
Obtaining data on the amount of physical activity carried out is a complicated task. In general, questionnaires are used that not everyone knows how to answer correctly. Furthermore, they are subject to significant estimation errors.
The solution is through accelerometers, which monitor the amount of physical activity carried out objectively.
However, to determine the activity level or decrease, the participants would have to wear the tool throughout the study. At a minimum, during previously established intervals.
The subsequent statistical analysis would also be complex. After all, factors that could indirectly influence health status should be isolated. And not only that but also the physical activity to be carried out.
Why Exercise Is Important, Even If You’re Doing It passively.
Why is exercise important in our daily life? The answer is quite simple – it keeps you healthy. Exercise keeps you physically fit, allowing you to move around freely and not feel constrained. It also helps you have a strong immune system, which lowers your chances of contracting various diseases or complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
So now we know why exercise is important. What are some of the benefits of doing it regularly? Besides keeping you healthy physically, a regular dose of exercise will prevent you from developing certain diseases or conditions later on in life. For example, did you know that even seniors who exercised regularly could avert the onset of Alzheimer’s disease? A study conducted at the University of California at Davis proved that those who exercised regularly had lower Alzheimer’s disease risks than those who did not. This proves that exercising helps delay the onset of this disease.
Another study conducted in Russia also pointed out the same phenomenon. People who exercised regularly were found to have lower blood pressure and heart disease risks. Researches also point out that those who exercise regularly have a lesser risk of suffering from heart problems, stroke, kidney failure, and osteoporosis. They are also less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and lung, bladder, colon, and prostate cancers. Studies have also shown that women who exercise regularly have longer life spans.
Why is exercise important for our overall health?
Exercise has been known to help you lose weight, improve your fitness level, increase muscle mass, strengthen your bones, improve your cardiovascular condition, reduce your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and increase your longevity. If we could get back to the way we were decades ago, we would be fortunate indeed. Sadly, we live in an age where people want to be fit but can’t find the time or money.
What’s behind the belief that exercise is important?
It’s all about the time factor – how many hours in a day do you spend sitting quietly? Research shows a direct correlation between the amount of physical activity you perform and your quality of life. Those who sit in front of a computer or TV set for long hours don’t get much exercise, are more likely to develop poor mental health, have a sedentary lifestyle, and are more prone to sickness and disease. In contrast, physically active young people (and those they are) are happier, healthier, and more likely to perform physical activity for short periods of time.
So why do some people think that it makes more sense to take a pill than to exercise?
Well, consider this: A pill works just as well as, if not better than, a brisk walking routine. There are fewer side effects, and you don’t need to drive or sit at a computer to do it. Even better, there are no real dangers to exercising without a pill. There are no health risks unless you abuse the drug – a common problem among diet pills.
When you take a pill to lose weight, you might be able to lose a little bit, but you also put your entire system at risk. Taking a pill for a week, even though it might effectively aid weight loss, could actually harm your health. Why exercise when you don’t have to? Exercise is actually perfect for your overall health, helping your heart and lungs work better, reducing stress, and improving your body’s immune system.
So if you’re thinking of exercising, it’s time to find the activity that works best for you. If you’re a couch potato, you might want to exercise more since working at a computer all day could lead to hypertension. If you’re an athlete, make sure you monitor your blood pressure regularly because sitting quietly at home all day could lead to high blood pressure. Take some time to evaluate your lifestyle to see whether you really need to add any exercise to your daily life.