Goodbye to sedentary lifestyle: 6 reasons for sports
The first substantial change in the habits of life of the human being came after the so-called "industrial revolution" and the second change we are now suffering after the "technological revolution". Before the industrial revolution, food was affected by the supply variability that was according to the time, and always came into play the need for effort at the time of getting food.
This fact changes after the appearance of the large factories, at which time the machines were responsible for the fine grinding of cereals and the removal of the bran and all non-digestible fiber parts, which caused a greater speed of absorption of the glucose in foods rich in cereals. Due, there was a great abundance of foods rich in carbohydrates with a high glycemic index , and therefore, rapid assimilation that invaded our diet.
Nowadays, after the arrival of the technological revolution, These trends have been strengthened and advances have made available to all a wide variety of new foods of great palatability , of attractive colors and irresistible crunchy sounds when chewing. Some of these products are very rich in fast carbohydrates and fats: pastry, pastries and derivatives, sweets, etc. All these circumstances, together with the sedentary lifestyle, have increased the negative consequences of insulin resistance in the last 50 years.
The population in the industrialized countries is exposed to an excess of energy intake, mostly in the form of fast assimilation carbohydrates and saturated fats. Are we domesticating ourselves?
A brain adapted to hunger
Although we try to avoid the consumption of foods rich in calories in our diet, we are aware of how difficult it is to be deprived of any of these dishes. For starters, those foods with a high lipid content are much more tasty, which makes our nervous system prefer them.
If we go back in history, the periods that abound are those of scarcity of food and famine, rather than those of abundance. Because of this, our brain adapted to have that preference for this type of food that helps the accumulation of fats and that are a source of essential energies to survive long periods without food. The problem we have today is that the preference for this type of food is coupled with the lack of physical exercise in daily activities, leading to the emergence of a society with greater overweight.
These new conditions, applied to the population that carries the energy-saving genotype, causes many people to live in permanent hyperinsulinemia leading to a series of diseases. Recent studies have indicated a sedentary lifestyle as a factor linked to the appearance and severity of a large number of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity among others.
Fighting sedentary lifestyle
In Europe, the European Commission in the White Paper on sport recognizes that it is not progressing enough in the fight against sedentary lifestyle and the promotion of physical activity.
The Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine considers that the prevalence of sedentary lifestyle is being higher than that of any other risk factor nowadays, such as smoking or alcohol consumption, since only 12% of the population practices physical exercise adequately .
This is worrisome, considering that practicing sports regularly you can enjoy various benefits. Among them we can highlight the following.
1. It supposes an economic saving
An investigation carried out in Argentina by the Secretariat of Tourism and Sports of the Nation with the qualified support of National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) showed that sedentary lifestyle not only causes the appearance of diseases, but also has a high economic cost for the country : approximately 20% of the budget given to organizations related to the health field could be saved if frequent physical activity was promoted.
2. It has positive psychological effects
Higher levels of physical activity have been associated with few or few symptoms of depression and possibly anxiety and the tension. For this reason, sport is part of the most frequent psychological interventions. Another advantage that we find is the construction of a more solid self-esteem, a positive self-image in women and an improvement in the quality of life between children and adults.These advantages may be due to the combination of physical activity and socio-cultural aspects that may accompany the activity.
3. Improves deep sleep
A restful sleep is like a fountain of youth, and exercise will help you achieve it. It has been shown that regular exercise helps people fall asleep more quickly, as well as having deeper REM phases. At least 150 minutes of physical exercise a week will improve the quality of sleep.
4. Power cognitive processes
On the other hand, Physical activity also plays an important role in cognitive processes . A series of studies conducted by the University of Illinois in the United States found a relationship between increased aerobic activity and reduced neuronal degeneration. Also, several studies showed that some processes and cognitive abilities in older people were better in case they practiced physical activity.
For example, in a study carried out by the same university in 1999, a group of people who had lived a very sedentary life for 60 years was observed. After a 45-minute walk three times a week, they improved their mental abilities, which tend to decrease due to age. And it is not only at older ages that significant differences have been found; In the case of children who practice physical activity in a systematic way, cognitive processes are better than those of sedentary children.
5. Improves brain development
There are numerous works that echo the relevance of physical exercise in brain functioning and development. In a study carried out by Chaddockse, he could see how those children who had a good physical shape had an increase in the volume of the hippocampus (a very important area in learning and in memory).
Thayer and his team in 1994 found through studies in mice that physical activity increased the secretion of brain neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin related to nerve growth factor, located mainly in the hippocampus and cortex. cerebral. This substance lengthens the life expectancy of neurons and protects the brain from possible ischemia . In addition, he discovered that physical activity causes the muscle to secrete IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) that enters the bloodstream, reaching the brain and stimulating the production of brain neurotrophic factor. Therefore, physical exercise helps preserve cognitive and sensory function of the brain in better conditions.
All these findings positioned physical activity as a neuropreventive role in different neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
6. Delays cellular aging
Telomeres, structures that are located at the ends of chromosomes, shorten as we get older. Long telomeres are associated with longevity.
Well, a team of scientists from the University of California has presented the results of a studye show that with the introduction of healthy habits we can modify the size of these structures , and therefore, the predisposition to suffer the typical ailments of the age.
Therefore, if we want to save money on drugs, have a stronger self-esteem, sleep better, have an agile brain and live longer and better, there is no doubt in what we have to do from now on.
How much exercise do you have to do to be in shape? According to the WHO, in people between 18 to 64 years, minimum 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous activity. It can be increased to 300 minutes by combining muscle strengthening exercises.
- Chaddock, L., Erickson, K.I., Prakash, R.S., Kim, J.S., Voss, M.W. and VanPatter. M., (2010). A neuroimaging investigation of the association between aerobic fitness, hippocampal volume and memory performance in preadolescent children. Brain Research, 1358, 172-183.
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- Matsudo, S.M. Physical activity: passport for health. Rev. Clin. Counts - 2012.
- Ramirez, W, Vinaccia, S and Ramón Suarez, G. The impact of physical activity and sports on health, cognition, socialization and academic performance: a theoretical review. Journal of Social Studies, no.18, August 2004, 67-75.
- Ströhle, A. Physical activity, exercise, depression and anxiety disorders. J Neural Transm (2009) 116: 777-784
- Suay, F. (2012). Why are you so sedentary?