Thursday, February 9, 2023

Realistic advice for those who want to resume physical activity after a long time

Like every year after the excesses of Christmas come resolutions to improve and one of the most common objectives is to exercise. In many cases, this return to physical activity occurs after many years of a sedentary lifestyle or after several unsuccessful attempts. And statistics show that a large portion of the population is in that position. A review of studies has recently been published by researchers from the Public University of Navarra (Pamplona). british journal of sports medicine which analyzed data from 32 countries and more than three million people, showed that only one in five people meet the weekly exercise recommendations recommended by the World Health Organisation. Mikel Izquierdo, director of UPNA’s Department of Health Sciences, one of the study’s authors, explains that this data “indicates the vast room that is there for improvement.”

“If everyone did 150 minutes of weekly exercise, which is something that could be a bike ride or a brisk walk that stops us from having a conversation, the health benefits would be enormous,” he says. Another work published last November showed that even a small amount of exercise can see results in terms of reducing your risk of premature death. “The most common mistake when setting these goals is to start off too fast. This turns into tendonitis and other problems later and pays for it. You have to give it time, warm up well, get the joints The goal is to loosen up little by little and when you start, if you notice that you are very tired, stop,” says Juan Ramon Garcia, a primary care physician.

Orthodox beginnings. All the experts consulted agree on this conservative start. Alejandro Lucia, a researcher in Physical Activity and Health at the European University of Madrid, stresses that “you have to start very slowly and think of small changes that can be maintained over a long period of time.” “We weren’t built for exercise to be fun, it’s something we do for a living, so it’s normal that you don’t like to exercise,” he says. For this reason, he encourages “finding a reward system that makes it easy to start exercising and incorporate it into daily activities like stopping to take the elevator or walking to as many places as possible.”

“We weren’t made for exercise to be fun, it’s something we do for a living”

Alejandro Lucia, European University of Madrid

professional help. Apart from this first step out of a sedentary lifestyle, one of the recurring suggestions is to seek help from professionals in private training centers or public sports centres. “We must have a plan developed by a specialist in sports science, which will allow us to determine the short and medium term objectives that we are going to meet. says Pilar Saenz de Baranda, professor of physical and sports education at the University of Murcia , If we look to lose twenty kilos or more, I go to train for a week and stop, it has the opposite effect.

strength exercise. This exercise plan should have “a cardiovascular portion, such as running or riding a bike, a flexibility portion, some dynamic stretching and a strength portion,” according to Saenz de Baranda, along with the use of weights or your own body. weight of. Despite the myths that link cardiovascular exercise with weight loss and weight gain, strength exercise is essential for its ability to increase metabolic rate (amount of energy consumed at rest) and prevent problems that arise with age, such as sarcopenia. prevents. More frailty, loss of balance and worse general health in advanced age.

Objective: Follow up. Mikel Izquierdo agrees on the need to “put yourself in the hands of a professional who will differentiate your exercises, loads and intensity”. “The problem with people who start exercising alone is adherence. After a short time they give up or end up with physiotherapists”, he continues. Furthermore, UPNA researchers warn against influential people Which can be very motivating at first, but makes the goal of sustainable physical activity adherence impossible in the long run. Alejandro Lucia, however, believes that apps can be useful “as a means of establishing rewards upon meeting objectives.”

Like medicine. Despite the fact that data shows it is not easy to resume physical activity, sometimes after decades of inactivity, experts believe that there has been a shift in mindset and that exercise is being treated with some effectiveness. It has come to be seen as an effective medicine against aging. secondary. “Before, the doctor who knew exercise was important didn’t know where to send it, but now bridges are being built to put patients in the hands of professionals in municipal facilities,” Izquierdo says. “Doctors, to sick people, in addition to telling them they have to take a pill, might advise them to go for a high-intensity bike ride with this professional across the street,” he exemplifies. In this sense, the researcher recalls the existence of programs such as the Physical Activity and Exercise Prescription Scheme for sick or inactive people promoted by the Higher Sports Council with the European Recovery Fund.

So far, though, these experts believe that “to some extent we are illiterate on the subject of exercise,” Izquierdo says. “Gym or exercise is investing in health in the broadest sense is a yes or no, and it’s something that I think isn’t said enough,” says Lucia. In addition, there are drugs like statins or newer drugs for diabetes that are used to lose weight “that suppress the effects of exercise,” he continues. Finally, Izquierdo summarized, “He who does not have time to exercise must find himself ill.”

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