We are less and less surprised to see people of any age and condition playing sports in the parks. What was a minority years ago is becoming a mass phenomenon. It seems that physical exercise is permeating today’s society as a healthy habit, as there are more and more people who are aware of their health and who, in addition, enjoy exercising outdoors or in the gym.
And it is that well-planned physical activity is a powerful health tool that can help us live healthy and fit. More and more people notice it, exercise and feel better: they rest better, feel less stress, manage their emotions better and improve their work performance.
Sedentary lifestyle is the most important risk factor for mortality and morbidity. If, in addition to having a low physical condition, smoking, hypertension or obesity are added, we are creating a Molotov cocktail for our health, and it makes us be a walking time bomb waiting for the straw to break the camel’s back.
It is clear that exercise is a great promoter of health on many levels, both cardiovascular and even brain. But it also has an important role as a disease prevention factor. There are studies that state that light aerobic exercise can prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease. It is not easy to think that exercise is beneficial in counteracting certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. One study showed that the higher the amount of exercise, the lower the probability of developing Crohn’s disease.
It is well known that heart disease is the leading cause of death in Spain. Perhaps it is due to a sedentary lifestyle, the loss of the famous Mediterranean diet, living with higher levels of stress or the predominance of toxic habits. All this puts us against the ropes of the disease, but if we want to take responsibility and take the bull by the horns we have to develop healthy habits, and physical exercise is, perhaps, the most important.
Properly planned physical exercise regulates blood pressure, decreases the percentage of body fat, increases blood perfusion in the muscles, increases the number of red blood cells in the medium and long term, increases myocardial irrigation, favoring the development of new arterioles, veins and capillaries, thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and increasing life expectancy: it adds years to life and life to years.
The impact of physical exercise on the prevention and treatment of breast cancer has also been studied. Even during chemotherapy, exercise is an effective tool to alleviate the side effects of these aggressive treatments, with which the quality of life of patients improves significantly. Cardiotoxicity, a side effect of chemotherapy that can affect the heart in the long term, is also fought.
On the other hand, physical exercise helps prevent musculoskeletal ailments, such as low back pain and neck pain, the first and second causes of sick leave in our country. An exercise program in which there is balanced toning, global stretching, aerobic work and core training, will not only prevent acute back pain, but will also improve chronic symptoms and provide resources to the body to withstand the days labor. People suffering from chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety also benefit from the effects of physical exercise, providing relief from their symptoms: higher quality of life, better feeling of well-being, improvement in rest and sleep quality.
Perhaps the challenge lies in getting into the habit, making exercise part of our lives almost daily, that we can develop simple routines that don’t cost us a lot of work and that they can be included in our busy schedules.
Now is the time to think about it, to take a turn in our lives and introduce this fantastic health tool as a fundamental pillar to take care of ourselves and feel good. Because, undoubtedly, it will improve our self-esteem and the way we feel about ourselves, making possible a paradigm shift in our way of perceiving health.