5 (good) reasons to get in shape

The figures of sedentary all over the world (Spain included) speak for themselves: we do Less than 22 minutes of physical activity per day. In addition, women are more sedentary than men: 30% compared to 22%, according to the latest data on physical activity in our country that manages the World Health Organization. And the problem worsens as we age: an investigation led by the University of Jaén reveals that the Spanish population over 65 years does not perform enough physical activity, although experts emphasize that preserve physical performance prevents the most negative consequences of aging.

Despite being the fourth cause of death in the world (behind hypertension and smoking and at the same level as diabetes), with more than 3.2 million direct victims per year, sedentary lifestyle is part of our lives. But it's never too late to start doing things right. A trace is the beginning of the path and that path can be started at any age with good results. In case you have turned 40 without stepping on a gym and you need motivation to decide is, here we propose Five reasons to get up off the couch and say goodbye to a lifestyle that can make you sick.

1. Increase the quality of your sleep

One of the biggest health problems that we have to face because of the stress and the concerns is the insomnia. To sleep well is not to accumulate hours in bed, but to have a restful sleep and get up rested. It has been shown that Physical exercise is an excellent therapy for insomniacs. If you use it, it will take 11 minutes less to fall asleep and you will sleep 42 more minutes. In summary: you can earn four and a half hours of sleep a week.

Through exercise various hormones are secreted (vasopressin, growth, prolactin, endorphin, etc.) that increase the corporal and mental relaxation. "In addition, when doing a physical activity we put a barrier to the concerns, since they are activities that usually require concentration. Exercise will help us reduce the mental load that the daily stress supposes and, consequently, to sleep better ", explains Mario Redondo, physiotherapist specialized in exercise and cancer. But keep in mind that sport is an activation of the body that hinders sleep, so it is advisable not to exercise two hours before going to bed. Otherwise, it can be counterproductive.

2. Strengthen your bones and your back

Did you know 30% of Spaniards over 65 fall at least once a year? These falls can also be prevented by improving the physical tone of the muscles, balance and bone density. "Also, with age we are losing bone mineral density (BMD) and studies show that physical exercise is the best alternative for all pre and postmenopausal women," says Javier S. Morales.

Another problem that you will be fired from if you tone up your abdominal and lumbar muscles is the Back pain. About 90% of the world's population is faced with low back pain at some point in their life that not only causes pain, but less motivation to face the day, greater difficulty in managing stress and an irritability that everyone ends up paying. "It is a pain that has to do with factors such as poor posture or sedentary lifestyle. A regular routine of exercises to increase muscle mass and strength helps to avoid stiffness and weakness, and also to reduce the severity and duration of possible low back pain. But we should always be advised. Otherwise, our efforts can turn against us, "warns Dr. Mario Redondo.

3. Fight diseases

The benefits of exercise in our health (physical and mental) are almost infinite. To begin with, if you turn it into a routine, you can prevent 13 types of tumors, starting with breast cancer. And you can also act on hypertension, heart disease, overweight, type 2 diabetes, stress, cholesterol, arthritis, Alzheimer's, depression … even the flu.

And the age of beginning to enjoy these benefits is not as important as we think. Researchers from the Andalusian Center for Development Biology have proven, for the first time in humans, that Performing physical activity moderately increases the levels of coenzyme Q10 in the blood in elderly people (from 60 to 70 years old). This antioxidant molecule prevents the cardiovascular or chronic complications that accompany the aging. The team of experts ensures that, in larger populations, playing sports can slow down the aging process, decreasing up to 15% the oxidative stress of the cells. If we did 30 minutes of exercise a day five times a week (or 150 minutes throughout the week) one of every 12 deaths from chronic diseases in the world would be avoided and one out of every 20 cardiovascular pathologies would be prevented. And that we are talking about minimums. Because it's not a matter of doing weights or crushing in the gym. To maintain an active lifestyle, it is enough to walk at a pace that allows you to talk for half an hour every day.

Get going!

  • You choose: you can simply activate yourself or go further to practice a certain sport. What is clear is that, whether it is a lot or a little, your body will appreciate any new dose of physical exercise. Next, we propose three steps to go from zero to infinity.
  • Get active: every great race begins with a small step. Leave the chair and just start moving more. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus one stop before to get home walking, go out and buy a walk … Because the little things always add up.
  • Get hooked: join a group physical activity to generate adherence, until you turn it into one more routine of your life. Get into pilates classes, go to a gym to do dance or bicycle, etc. But, and this is important, look for an activity that you like so that it does not bother you to continue and follow.
  • Start an exercise program: it is the most ambitious step. If you have already gone through the previous two stages, maybe you have taken a liking to the sport and want more. Put yourself in the hands of a professional and follow a table designed specifically to adapt to your goals and possibilities.

4. Improve your mood

Have you had a bad day? The solution to take better all the small setbacks of daily life is called exercise. Perform any physical activity consistently increases the segregation of endorphins, the so-called "happiness hormones" and, thanks to them, mood swings are more bearable. Research confirms that those who do not exercise regularly have an average of between three and four bad days each month (with the consequent burden of stress and possibilities of mood disturbances), while those who do exercise regularly have only two days bad a month.

5. Plant facing menopause

With the climacteric, the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and because of this hormonal decline begin the symptoms: hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, headache …

A study by the North American Menopause Society concluded that sedentary lifestyle makes those symptoms even more severe, especially those related to weight gain, depression and insomnia. "But those who perform physical activity improve the resistance of their body to temperature variations and better support the effects of menopause.", Says Javier S. Morales, researcher and professor at the European University of Madrid. For the daily routine to be effective against the symptoms of menopause, it must include aerobic exercises and strength training, flexibility and balance. In addition to pilates (with which you will achieve a loss of adipose tissue and gain muscle), you can try aquagym (which relaxes and improves endurance), tai-chi (to gain balance) and belly dancing (which strengthens the pelvic floor). But remember: simply walking is better than nothing. Walking a little a day will allow you to achieve cardiovascular and mental benefits.