Physical activity for a long life

Exercise is the most important component in the formation of a healthy lifestyle: exercise not only makes the human body stronger but also is a mandatory measure in the prevention of diseases. Their regular performance will help to live as long as possible. Everyone knows about the benefits of physical activity, but not everyone adheres to them. And if a sport is a cure, then…

Why don't we want to train?

According to the latest data from the World Health Organization, 29.4% of the European population over 18 years have insufficient physical activity (in Russia, this figure is about 18%, in the United States — 42.5%). Why is it so difficult to start training regularly and devote some free time to exercise? The very first and obvious fact is that people just don't like to do it.

If we recall the evolutionary theory, our ancestors, the cavemen, had no lack of physical activity, as it was a critical part of their survival. Hunters and gatherers walked long distances, climbed mountains, threw stones at prey, ran away from predators. They didn't need willpower and self-control to force themselves to exercise. Naturally, after each meal, after each successful escape came that rare moment of rest, in which you can relax a little and calm down. And it was so valuable that enjoyment of it in us, modern people, is genetically inherent.

Survival mode ended a long time ago, but we are still programmed to enjoy the rest, and our body - to receive a dose of exercise. However today we have no serious motivation: after all, the food is already grown, packaged and lies on the store shelf.

Lack of incentive is a serious reason not to exercise. Social psychologist, Professor at New York University Emily Balsetis argues that motivation disappears, in particular, from the fact that some people just see exercise more difficult than they really are. Testing among volunteers who had to go walk through a certain distance with the weighting showed that those who are less motivated estimated the distance greater than it was.

 These days, the best motivating knowledge is that exercise will positively impact every aspect of our biology. And just a few moments are enough to turn a workout from hard work into a welcome event. After all, exercises can be enjoyable, especially if they are combined with what you like: for example, with a walk in a picturesque park, a walk with a friend or listening to the new album of your favorite band. Turning an ordinary activity into a useful pastime, you can overcome the genetic tendency to rest.

Why should the body train?

Changes in health and the inability to perform any work qualitatively often come not as a result of aging, as many believe, but from the fact that a person exercises less or stops physical activity altogether. Non-working, untrained organs and limbs tend to lose their tone and atrophy over time: the muscles weaken, the joints begin to creak, the skin sags and wrinkles appear (and how many negative processes, inaccessible to the eye, occur inside!). Aging in many aspects starts with the fact that we simply do not continue to actively train and lead a sedentary lifestyle. And the latter is one of the main factors in the development of many diseases and deaths.

But if to add to such way of life also the hereditary diseases, bad habits, such as alcohol or smoking, irrational food, violation of work of one organ will gradually lead to wrong functioning of another and, eventually - to dysfunction of organ systems that will surely reduce life expectancy of the person and the so-called "Domino effect" will be shown.

Every year, scientists find evidence that exercise improves our health and reduces the risk of various diseases: cardiovascular, obesity, diabetes, cancer and several others. But, in addition, it is now scientifically proven that high physical activity pushes aging for nine years at the cellular level! Such people have longer chromosome endings called "telomers". The fact is that every time a cell divides, part of this "cap" is lost, and the person grows old. But those who exercise regularly are younger in terms of telomere length than their non-active peers.

Exercise is also a stress for the body, as well as any other irritating factor. And yet it is "useful" stress. Cortisol is released both during the emotional experience and during physical exercise. However, only after training the hormone can transform into an inactive form of cortisone. In psychological stress, cortisol, on the contrary, tends to accumulate in the body, thereby contributing to the development of hypertension, chronic fatigue, depression, and other nervous disorders.

Not too intense and short-term "physical stress" improves the state of the musculoskeletal system, the antioxidant systems of the body, metabolism, reduces fat deposits, increases tissue sensitivity to insulin, stimulates the release of growth hormone, which counteracts prolonged and harmful stresses. Also, physical activity reduces blood pressure and blood content of "bad" cholesterol.

Also noticeable is the effect of physical activity not only on the body but also on the brain. They make a person more intelligent, delay the approach of senile dementia and Parkinson's disease, improve attentiveness and general psycho-emotional state. At the same time, different types of training can have different positive effects on brain activity. For example, it was noted that high-interval training (HIIT) reduces hunger, and strength training leads to significant improvements in executive functions in the elderly - balance exercises and simple toning exercises, in turn, did not give such an effect.

Also, scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands assessed the impact of aerobic and combined exercise on adults with dementia. Thus, testing at the end of the experiment showed that the groups involved in sports, showed good results in solving problems and fairly fast speed of information processing compared to the control group, but the best results in solving the tests showed those people who were engaged in combined training.

In the process of physical exercises specific chemical substances — endorphins, which bring feelings of pleasure and improve mood, are synthesized. But here the main thing is not to overwork: studies have shown that excessive stress on the body changes their beneficial effects, which ultimately leads to increased fatigue, decreased performance and depression.

How much exercise does a person need?

To be in good shape, it is not necessary to run five kilometers every day or swim continuously for an hour. Scientists from the Taiwan National Health Research Institute have determined that it is enough to exercise moderately for only 15 minutes a day. Such exercises include even a small jog or a simple walk at a rapid pace. At the same time, the scientists noted in the experiment, that those who did not lead a healthy lifestyle and had addictions, still had a lower percentage of mortality — physical activity somehow benefited.

To perform exercises, it is not necessary to visit the gym. Australian scientists have found that just 20 minutes of three times a day of physical exercise in the workplace not only improve overall health, but also relieve neck pain, a common phenomenon among office workers, and also increase working capacity. 

In conclusion

Regular exercise is another step toward slowing aging and increasing life expectancy. Many studies confirm that it straightens the posture, tightens the muscles, increases the functionality of organs and body systems, improves overall human health. Physical activity should not be a "burden" or "obligation", it should become a way of life, everyday and habitual occupation, like eating or sleeping. Sport is a cure for many diseases, and in combination with a balanced diet, the right daily regime, the absence of harmful addictions, it becomes the best cure for the aging of the entire body.

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