“Sport means health” is a popular slogan in media, repeated by relatives and friends who are trying to help us. Considering that nowadays sedentary lifestyle is very widespread, “be active!” is recommended – the more, the better. But is it really like that? Is it possible “the more” to become too much?
It turns out that too intensive and frequent workouts may have the same effect as sedentary lifestyle, as if we hadn’t exercised at all. According to a Danish research, people who go jogging more than 3 times for more than 4 hours per week are as exposed to mortal risk, as the people who do little exercise or don’t exercise at all.
Of course, you shouldn’t use this information as justification not to exercise. On the contrary, it should make us feel more relaxed about not having to exercise excessively in order to benefit from exercising and to motivate us to choose what sport is just enough exercise for us.
Recommended minimum “dose” of movement (for American standards) is 30 minutes moderately intensive aerobic activity (e.g. fast walking) 5 days per week or at least 20 minutes highly intensive aerobic activity (running) 3 times per week.
Walking and yoga
Fast walking and yoga are an excellent way to benefit from physical activity without excessive load. Hiking and walking around the city also burn calories and tighten the muscles. Walking and yoga are good examples for activities that make us physically and mentally fit. They don’t exhaust you provoking sudden fall of energy levels which leads to excessive sense of hunger or need of recovery time.
Because of that the healthy weight loss programme LuckyFit in Bansko is based on walking and hiking as a key element for losing weight without getting exhausted or staying hungry. We also offer you a new LuckyFit Yoga programme that adds practicing yoga to walking in the nature!
When it comes to benefits from physical activity, however, it is necessary to consider not only intensity of workouts but also the time we spend sitting every day.
According to new scientific studies the positive effects of physical activity might be neutralized if we spend the rest of the day sitting. Proven fact is that the more hours we spend sitting the biggest the risk of cardio-vascular illnesses, diabetes, cancer and death is. However, what was ignored until now was the fact that regardless if they exercise regularly every week (1/2 or 1 hour per day) people who spend most of their time sitting are exposed to 90% higher risk of other illnesses.
This means that it’s not enough to use one hour for exercise instead of sitting. What we really need to do is to decrease the overall number of hours spent sitting because the difference between a body that spends too little time in physical activity and a body that spends too much time sitting is enormous. For example, a barista who is standing all day long and moves completing his job tasks, spends 1,300 calories more than a person who works in an office per day.
Burning calories, accumulating fat and mental work are completely different when we sit and when we move moderately. That’s why expert recommend to “have a rest” from sitting every thirty minutes, to stand up and stir.
More intensive physical activity also helps but its intensity depends on how immobilized you are the rest of the time. One hour of fast walking for example may compensate the negative effect of 8 hours sitting but do we do it regularly and do we spend only 8 hours sitting?
Although everything around us is designed so that we sit down – public transport, work, entertainment venues, like having a coffee with a friend or going to the theatre, we still can make some “small steps” towards more movement. As it has been already said, it is not necessary to exhaust oneself in order to benefit from the physical activity for better health and better outlook.