Feeding and its implications regarding the risk of various diseases has been the subject of numerous studies on nutrition and health. However, it has not been given much attention to how often you practice physical exercise. At present, this is changing because we have growing evidence that physical activity enhances the welfare of the body and mind and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
In a report on the benefits of physical activity that was recently published by the European Food Information (European Food Information Council, EUFIC), Professor Ken Fox from Bristol University (UK) explained that Numerous studies show that relatively being active, especially during adulthood and old age are twice as likely to avoid a premature death or serious illness. The benefits of staying active are numerous:
Reduced risk of obesity
There is increasing evidence that a reduction in physical activity levels is a significant cause of increasing obesity. There have been several studies showing that sports lead a healthy life and helps prevent obesity. In particular, it appears that exercise helps to prevent weight gain typical of middle age.
Reduced risk of heart disease
People with an active lifestyle and are relatively in shape are half as likely to develop heart disease that people who carry a sedentary life. Obese people who practice the exercise have a lower risk of heart disease or diabetes than those who perform no physical activity.
The lack of activity is a risk factor for developing type II diabetes. The probability of very active people suffering from this disease is 33 to 50% lower. It has also shown that physical exercise helps diabetics control blood sugar levels in the blood.
Reduced risk of cancer
A moderate or intense physical activity reduces the risk of colon cancer, colorectal, lung and breast cancer.
Muscles and bones in good condition
Practicing regular physical exercise strengthens the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and increases bone density. It has been discovered that the activities in which we support our own weight (such as running, skating and dancing) improve bone density during adolescence and help to maintain throughout adulthood and slow bone loss that typically occurs over the years (osteoporosis).
Various studies show that physical activity improves psychological well-being, how they cope with stress and mental functions (such as decision making, the planning and short-term memory), it reduces anxiety and regulates sleep. Evidence obtained from clinical trials indicates that physical activity can be applied in the treatment of depression. Regarding the elderly, exercise can help reduce the risk of dementia and even Alzheimer's.
How much exercise do we need?
At other times, the recommendations in this area suggested that most people had to carry out intense physical activity for at least twenty minutes a day. Twenty years later, scientists and health professionals have realized that this activity level is too high for most people. Furthermore, it has been discovered that we do not need much to get the benefits that exercise brings to our health.
The new recommendations issued in the UK and U.S. sessions provide a regular activity of moderate intensity. Thus, walking vigorously or almost every day for about thirty minutes helps improvinf physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise in short sessions-for example, two or three sessions of ten minutes each is about as effective as exercising at all times during the same time and it is easier to adapt to the rhythm of life. For those who dislike or find it impossible to exercise as planned, the fact of avoiding or reducing the time spent in sedentary activities may be equally beneficial. For example, the simple act of standing for an hour a day instead of sitting watching television consumes the equivalent of 1-2 kg of fat per year.
Obese people should carefully select the type of exercise that will make in order to avoid any injury to the joints caused by the practice of intense activity in which they have to bear their own weight. Swimming and cycling are good choices for people with overweight.
Increase hope and quality of life
It was discovered that the regular practice of some form of exercise lengthens our lives (to reduce the risk of disease) and improved our quality of life (mental health preserving and increasing flexibility and stamina). As the investigations, it is expected that the role of physical activity with regard to health and welfare that the preponderance gained more than it has in recent years.
For more information, consult the full report at www.eufic.org
- Biddle, SJH, Fox, KR, & Boutcher, SH (2000). Physical activity and psychological well-being. London: Routledge.
- Blair, s.n. & Hardman, A. (1995). Special issue: Physical activity, health and well-being - an international scientific consensus conference. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66 (4).
- Lee, IM, & Skerritt, PJ (2001). Physical activity and all-cause mortality: what is the dose-response relation? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33 (Supp 6) S459-471 ..
- Lund Nilsen, TI, & Vatter, LJ (2001). Prospective study of colorectal cancer risk and physical activity, diabetes, blood glucose and BMI: exploring the hyperinsulinemia hypothesis. British Journal of Cancer, 84, 417-422.