Sports

In Japan, statistics are kept quite rigorously. Scientists have taken advantage of this. They tested the importance of physical strength for health and longevity. They accessed data from decades ago, from measuring how hard patients were able to squeeze an instrument. They compared this with the state of health today. The results were quite shocking. The strongest people had a significantly lower risk of death compared to the weakest, in some age groups even twice as low. Of course, it is an open question what is the effect and what is the cause, nevertheless the fact remains. This was equally true for men and women. The study has been repeated several times, and has produced the same results everywhere:

https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7279

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580990/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17398228

Strength exercises have a number of very clear advantages that are no longer disputed. They increase bone density and strength, being the best (almost the only) known way to prevent osteoporosis. They make it easier to survive an accident; strong neck muscles, for example, make the difference between having to wear a collar for a few weeks after a car crash, or spending the rest of your life paralyzed. It’s easier to perform daily activities, easier to defend yourself from assault, you look much nicer… the gym basically has no disadvantages.

Of course, there is no place on this site to write out the entire training cycle and go into detail. I can only give a few tips, such as: always remember to warm up, lift heavy weights, because small weights are not beneficial, but not too heavy, because it can lead to joint damage.

I will immediately dispel doubts. properly conducted training does not damage the joints, on the contrary, it strengthens them. Professional athletes who use anabolic steroids, exceeding the acceptable “load standards” for the human body can get hurt. Normal training, without the desire to obtain a result that puts you on the international podium, without the use of “boosters” strengthens joints, tendons and spine.

Some of my blog posts on the subject:

https://healthytreatment.org/2022/01/31/gym-basic-rules-and-dispelling-myths/

https://healthytreatment.org/2022/01/27/the-gym/

The second thing – normal movement, or aerobic training. Running is very healthy, but only if it is properly restricted. Marathon runners live shorter, not longer:

https://heart.bmj.com/content/99/8/588.2

It seems that the relationship between running and health resembles a parabola. Both lack of exercise and excessive zeal will be detrimental. The golden mean is to run at a light intensity, 2-3 times a week, for a total of 1 to 2.5 hours a week.

Here I advise against trusting “special running shoes” that are supposed to “cushion” and protect our knees. This role should be performed by the human foot. This type of footwear forces an unnatural step, falling back on the heel, which is a killer for the joints and spine. Much less strain on our skeletal system is placed on barefoot running on concrete with proper foot cushioning (midfoot descent) than “classic” running with heel descent in even the most expensive shoes on grass. Even better is swimming. Normal long walks are also invaluable. What activity one decides on, it is important to do it regularly, but not to go to extremes.

Finally, I will mention the biggest “killer” associated with activity: sitting. When staying in one position for hours, our body stops secreting enzymes that are responsible for fat metabolism. As a result, a number of adverse changes occur in the body. People who had a sedentary lifestyle, whether due to work or habits, had much poorer health. A study comparing the health of bus drivers and ticket inspectors working for the same company, in the same city, showed this particularly clearly. Most importantly, no amount of extra physical activity can repair the damage done by sitting. That is, if 8 hours are spent at a desk, an evening jog won’t fix it.

Of course, sometimes it simply can’t be done otherwise, there are people who simply have to stay in such a position because of work. Nevertheless, this should be avoided at all costs, for example, you can read standing up. If you do have to sit, try to break it up at least every hour or two with a short series of activities, such as jogging in place, jumping jacks or – for example, at work – a walk to the toilet.