Physical activity – why it is so important for our health
Living in present times, full of technical conveniences, our existence is gradually being limited to closed rooms. We spend most of the day at work, which in many cases forces us to adopt a sitting position, only seemingly comfortable. After returning home, we again sit on a sofa or an armchair, and such an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle quickly begins to have a negative impact on our health. Doctors are sounding the alarm, but they are usually ignored, and we continue to do our job, harming ourselves every day. However, it is necessary to decide to move from home, and physical activity, although initially tiring, with time will begin to bring us many benefits.
- 1 Physical activity – how it can be defined
- 2 Physical activity – its importance for the human body and maintaining its health
- 3 Physical activity – choose a sport to suit your ability
Physical activity – how it can be defined
However, before we start running marathons or climbing mountain peaks, it is worth knowing what this physical activity to which we are constantly being persuaded actually is. This concept is practically inseparably connected with practising a sport discipline and should be considered from this angle. There are many definitions of physical activity, sometimes diametrically different, depending on whether they are given by doctors or sports trainers.
It is best understood as all motor activities which result in the improvement of fitness and physical efficiency of the body, enabling its proper development. It has a positive influence on the skeletal-joint system, muscles, heart and circulatory system, and even on the brain and nervous system. Another equally useful definition, given by doctors, says that the concept of physical activity covers all movements performed by the human body caused by the contractions of its muscles. Thus we can say that we are active practically all the time, but this activity does not always bring positive effects.
Physical activity – its importance for the human body and maintaining its health
It would be hard to find a person who has not heard the saying “movement is health” at least once and it is a sincere but usually underestimated truth. It concerns practically all western societies, including the inhabitants of our country, over 60% of whom cannot be forced to make any effort. In vain are the constant appeals of the medical community or the World Health Organization, indicating that we should finally get out of the house and move around in the fresh air for at least 60 minutes a day and several times a week. If we do not do it, we have to reckon with the gradual deterioration of our health, leading to the development of many diseases, often even life-threatening.
The benefits of regular physical exercise cannot be overestimated, therefore it is recommended not only for adults, but also for children and adolescents, conditioning their proper development, including the mental one. If we begin our adventure with ordinary daily walks, gradually moving on to practising a sport discipline, we will soon notice how positively our body reacts to it. The most important five health benefits, also indicated by specialists, which we will gain thanks to it, are:
1. no problems with weight maintenance
Physical activity, together with a proper slimming diet, are two basis for maintaining proper body weight, which significantly reduces the risk of overweight and obesity. Regular exercise effectively prevents weight gain, while helping regulate digestive processes by improving intestinal peristalsis. We begin to burn excess calories and fat tissue faster, accumulated in the form of folds in different parts of the body. Proper nutrition means that we are no longer at risk of diabetes, in which people with diabetes often start to gain weight rapidly.
2 A strong heart and good circulation
Overweight and its more dangerous form, obesity, are two of the most important causes of cardiovascular disease and contribute to the deaths of millions of people worldwide every year. Intense physical exercise increases the efficiency of the heart muscle, allowing better blood flow, lowering excess pressure and regulating heart rate. Undisturbed circulation allows to maintain safe level of cholesterol in blood, which is an important element of atherosclerosis prevention. Correct blood pressure in turn reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
3. managing the effects of stress
There’s no denying that most of us lead a rather nervous lifestyle, conducive to the development of another disease, which is stress, having a destructive impact on the entire body. Regular physical activity has a positive effect on the work of the nervous system, which is possible thanks to better oxygenation of the brain. Intense exertion allows us to fully de-stress, releasing more endorphins, or ‘happy hormones’, which put us in an excellent mental mood. We feel fully relaxed, we recover faster after exertion and we are no longer threatened by insomnia or depression.
4 A strengthened immune system
An efficiently working immune system can be compared to a line of defense, a natural barrier protecting the body from possible infections. Lack of exercise sometimes weakens it to such an extent that it turns out to be ineffective even in case of a common cold. So let’s take care to strengthen the immune system, especially now, in the period of increased risk of flu or COVID – 19, which threatens us all.
5. strong muscles, bones and joints without degenerative changes
Daily physical activity makes it easier to get rid of all the excess weight and burn fat, which should be immediately replaced with muscle tissue. Gaining impressive muscles or muscle mass is one of the goals of almost every slimming treatment, modelling the figure and also having a great impact on health. Muscles, especially skeletal ones, will quickly become stronger, allowing you to maintain a correct posture, reducing the risk of injury when practising your favourite sport. They also prevent pain in the joints caused by degenerative changes, stabilising them at high effort.
Physical activity – choose a sport to suit your ability
We already know how exercise affects our health, but we should also know that it is equally important to choose a form of exercise that is suited to the physical capacity of the body. Professional trainers strongly discourage people who are not prepared to play competitive sports from doing so, and the consequences of such irresponsibility can be disastrous. Unheated and unstretched muscles and joints are a direct road to injury, so it is better to start your adventure with physical activity from something milder, and professionals recommend:
Everyone can afford this form of activity and it would be hard to find excuses here. Usually we go to work by car or public transport, but if it’s not too far, it’s worth walking both ways. We don’t hide that it can be a bit difficult at the beginning, so we recommend nordic walking, a walk with sticks, which is worth considering for its undeniable advantages:
- relieving strain on the spine and joints and noticeably reducing pain;
- strengthening of almost all muscle groups;
- improving circulation and increasing respiratory capacity;
- prevention of overweight or obesity;
- Guarantee of a better sense of well-being and an always excellent mood;
- combating all effects of stress.
Jogging is a natural continuation of walking, and every year more and more people decide to run every day to improve their fitness and overall health. However, this is a higher school of running, requiring not only thorough physical preparation, but also some cost to purchase the right equipment. An absolute priority here are high quality shoes, fitted to the foot and having a cushioned sole, which are really not worth saving on. In this way we will avoid not only injuries, but we will also take real pleasure from the following kilometres, and our body will gain thanks to that:
- excellent physical condition;
- reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases;
- body weight in accordance with the calculated BMI;
- strong joints and steel muscles;
- absence of stress and other nervous tension;
- strong bones, resistant to fractures and osteoporosis;
- greater self-confidence, which also comes from a new look, a fit, slim body.
This is another form of physical activity, loved by millions of people around the world, that is worth taking an interest in. Usually we have bicycles in our garage or basement, but usually they stand unused, and this is a serious mistake, taking into account our health. Nobody is forcing us to take part in the Peace Race or Tour de France right away, but a ride a few times a week is highly recommended. Cycling, apart from the obvious health benefits like running or nordic walking, also has other advantages:
- we start to live in harmony with ecological principles, and daily commuting by bike is better than polluting the environment with exhaust fumes from a car. A bike is a great way to avoid traffic jams of many kilometers, giving a big time saving on the morning commute;
- going for a trip outside the city, of course with the whole family, we can commune with nature, admiring beautiful views, which we did not even know we would find just a few kilometers outside the city;
- thorough oxygenation of the brain after a morning ride allows for more efficient mental work, effective solution of all complex problems, and increased concentration and better memory will allow for faster assimilation of large amounts of new information.