Starting to exercise is always difficult. With the arrival of the heat, the option of doing it outdoors, either by running or a station in a square – a phenomenon that grew with the pandemic – putting the body in motion seems like a slightly simpler task. However, doubts appear: what sport to do and how to carry it out.
It is known: doing a sport not only improves our muscles, but it is a way to keep our heads free of stress. At the same time, it represents an opportunity to maintain a healthy life for the entire body. Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland found that physical exercise helps the general well-being of patients and does not affect sleep. Completing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at the end of the day can help improve mood in patients with unipolar depression and does not adversely affect sleep, a recent study suggested.
An analysis of the study from the Mayo Clinic on Aging found that moderate exercise in middle or old age was associated with a lower likelihood of developing mild cognitive impairment. A review of 46 trials with more than 5,000 participants published last year concluded that exercise is associated with reduced cognitive decline and appears especially helpful in assisting working memory. And a review of a 2017 randomized controlled trial concluded that in adults aged 50 years and older, moderate-intensity exercise (either aerobic exercise or strength training) was associated with better cognitive function.
Choosing a sport can literally change our lives. And to our health. On this note,12 ideas to keep in mind when starting a sport and improving our physical condition.
Including regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle is a habit change that may need motivation (especially for those who think they don’t enjoy being physically active). “Monday starts” is the classic phrase. For some, it is a saying that is repeated frequently, an expression of a firmly stated objective that later mutates into an excuse for not meeting the imposed goal. It is often said that taking the first step is the hardest thing to start a physically active life.
It is normal and common to think that it is a matter of reluctance due to the fatigue of the daily routine. Or of the little availability for limited times. Or perhaps, for the doubts that arise when the desired results do not appear. However, there are other reasons behind the inclination towards sedentary habits, some inherent in lack of will.
The first rule is -always- start slow. “Like any program, the physical activity program is good only if it is followed, and sometimes it is not easy to change habits. This is why it is so important to start slowly. If you are over 30 years old and coming from a sedentary period, schedule 15 minutes of activity for the first two weeks. Increase the time little by little, feel satisfaction for the first steps”, recommends the nutritionist doctor, who specialized in obesity, Alberto Cormillot.
“With 15 minutes, 5 times a week, well organized, we are good to start”, the neurologist, Conrado Estol, recently pointed out. “Means, the known 7 minutes that a pharmaceutical laboratory-developed, are very good. I would add stretching to that aerobic exercise. And maybe some anaerobic. You don’t have to tape an hour and a half. 5 minutes of intense tape that even if it is to increase the heart rate, is very good. And then keep thinking about the movement and walking in the street. You have to have more than 4 thousand steps per day, it is essential. That is to be physically active. And if they can, when they exercise, think things,” he explained.
3. Running, the great option
How can I start running? “ The answer can be the difference between staying with the desire or taking the first step to enter a world full of possibilities”, says Santiago García, marathoner, author of the books “Learning to run and Running to live, live to run”.
Tomás Andrés Fachola, the physical education teacher, agrees: “The most important thing is to think to start with a ten to fifteen minute training time. Choose them. Then you have to start walking, a walk is easier because you have all the parks with training stations. One can go out for a brisk walk, which is a light walk. You have to wear it for 20 to 30 minutes. After 20, 30 minutes we start to burn fat. It all depends on the pulsations. That is why you walk fast. Arriving at 45 minutes is ideal ”.
Continuing on the running side, Fachola recommends: “Once you have been walking this long, you start with the trot, never running straight. You don’t have to kill yourself. It is ideal to walk for 10 minutes, then run another 5 and walk again. So for 45 minutes. Until there comes a time when he goes straight for a run, and the same: first 15 minutes, then 30, and then 45. In this way, one loses weight, it is always good to be with a nutritionist so that they can give us a good diet”.
The proximity where we do our exercise or sport is essential. So look for a park, a square, a club or a pool near your home. “Both in the stations of the squares and the gyms, they are ideal places to do bodybuilding and combine with aerobic exercise. Doing sit-ups or apparatus, especially where there is a joint mobilization of the back and chest, helps us to strengthen the muscles. All of this helps us to eliminate intercellular fat,” says Fachola.
5. Find a partner
Finding a partner is essential. It makes us feel accompanied. The support of others – accompanying him in the activity, taking care of the children, replacing him in some task – makes it easier to stay in the long term. There are three exercises that are ideal to do as a couple: combination lunges and squats, twist crunches, and deadlifts.
6. The bicycle, ideal to share with the family
The bicycle is usually a great ally, a sport to start at any time. Whether stationary or mobile, it is an excellent aerobic exercise. “If it is fixed, it can be your ally for days that are too hot or cold as it allows you to train in front of the window, the television, with music, next to the fan, or in a heated environment. If you use a street bike, look for safe places like city parks. It is not a good business to leave a sedentary lifestyle to live with the risks and stress generated by pedaling in the middle of traffic, ”says Cormilllot.
Physical exercise with the use of a bicycle helps to protect the joints and burn calories, combat back pain, strengthen the immune system and reduce the levels of cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
7. Routine above all
Putting together a routine is always an important issue. Whether for the gym or for any type of sport. In this sense, it is recommended to establish a specific activity on fixed days and times and check that it adapts to your possibilities. “Beginners and amateur runners alike make mistakes when it comes to their daily running routine. To avoid injuries in the future, you should take into account when starting out, you should not forget about: warming up, neglecting hydration and not paying attention to food ”, says García.
Regarding this last point, having breakfast with protein is always an option. For example, eat eggs for breakfast, whether it’s scrambled, hard-boiled, or soft-boiled. The reason is that proteins are slower to digest, which means that they keep the stomach full for longer than other types of nutrients, in addition to counteracting the secretion of insulin, the fat-binding hormone.
“In the gym, the routine always helps us to know which muscle groups we are exercising,” says gym teacher Fachola.
8. Prepare the equipment.
Clothes, bag, footwear, headphones, fresh liquid … This is the way to avoid last-minute runs, late arrivals, and excuses to give up. “Running shoes are essential,” says Professor Fachola. The same thing happens with sports like soccer, basketball or tennis.
9. Understand that losing weight or getting in shape takes time
“If it were as easy as television shows, no one would have extra pounds,” says Cormillot. And this is a great truth. The anthropometry technician and physical education teacher, Francisco Ozores, explained in a recent note, that first of all, the main thing is to take into account the difference between the concepts of losing weight and losing weight, which is marked by the degree of volume: “Between a kilo of muscle and a kilo of fat, the former is of much lower volume. So if you burn a kilo of fat you lose much more volume than gaining a kilo of muscle, so you can look thinner but the weight is still the same or higher”.
Therefore, the specialist stressed that weight is one more piece of information and not a parameter, and the essential thing is to know how the weight is composed: “Know how much it is made of lean tissue, fat, bone tissue, skin, water ”. For this case, the study explores both the perimeters and the subcutaneous folds of the skin and bone density, as well as to determine beyond height, sex, or age, what is the target weight that should be had – and therefore burn fat or gain muscle mass- and where it is located.
10. Have up-to-date medical check-ups
Everyone should have a daily medical check-up. The sedentary and those who do sports. To start running, this check-up is very important, because with a good medical examination future problems can be avoided.
“The check-up will tell us where we are, what our initial limitations are, or if there is a contraindication. It never hurts to do one and thanks to the boom in running, many places do a complete medical check-up in one day, ”says Santiago García.
11. How to choose sport: a study can help us
Among the different tools to enhance performance in any type of sports discipline, one of the most valued today by professionals in physical activity is anthropometries.
This study is a non-invasive technique that evaluates the size, proportions, and composition of the body. “It is the best method to measure the five components of the human body: bones, fat, muscle mass, internal organs, and skin. It gives you the weight and the exact percentage of each one,” Ana Chezzi, a technician in anthropometry, commented.
These metrics are essential to be able to assess and exploit the response capacity of an athlete, to reduce the risk of injury, and to know how their body is made, knowing which is the proportion of weight that corresponds to muscle mass and which to weight. body fat. “It is also used in boys to detect talents for a specific sport,” added the nutritionist.
12. Swimming, the most complete sport
Those who want to start a sport from scratch, have to know that this is not a cliché. When we swim we are activating and move all the muscles of the body. Every sport has its charm, but swimming is different from any other aerobic activity in many ways.” In principle, the fact of being submerged in water means that your bones and muscles are out of the reach of gravity”, said Hirofumi Tanaka professor of kinesiology and Director of the Laboratory at the University of Texas specializing in cardiovascular research. This makes swimming the ideal exercise for people with osteoarthritis, whose patients cannot exercise with weights because it can be extremely painful.
According to Tanaka’s research on people with this condition, swimming reduces the stiffness of the arteries, a risk factor for heart problems. This study associated swimming with people with low blood pressure with people with hypertension. “The great thing about this sport is that it is both for people who are overweight and for those who hate doing sports like athletics or going to the gym,” he said.
The body exercises much more when we are in the pool doing swimming than on land. Water is denser than air, so moving in water puts more pressure on your ankles than any workout outside of it.
13. Don’t underestimate the heat
Summer is the time chosen by many to start various sports. With the imminent arrival of the vacation season, the desire to show off a worked and slim body increases. Therefore, schedules, clothing, a good diet, and hydration are some of the basic indications to take into account when starting some type of training.
From the team of professionals of the Physical Activity and Sports Program of the Hospital de Clínicas led by the sports doctor and cardiologist Jorge Franchella. They emphasize the importance of choosing convenient hours, that is, early in the morning or in the afternoon after sunset. In addition, they point out that appropriate clothing is useful for the weather conditions (with light clothing, light colors, and fabrics that retain moisture).
On the other hand, they point out that training must be individual, appropriate to the age and health of the person. The amount and intensity should be progressively increased: first increasing the weekly frequency, then the volume, and finally, the intensity. What type of modality? “Taking into account that most of the squares are made of cement, it is convenient to do water sports where the body loses 25 times more heat, ” they argue.
“We must bear in mind that we need at least two weeks of adaptation to high temperature, which must be taken as part of training, lowering the intensity of exercise and/or activity time, which will then be gradually increased,” he said. Dr. Magali Almada, a specialist in Sports Medicine at the Austral University Hospital, delved into the advice.
As explained by the expert, the ideal temperature for outdoor sports ranges between 20 and 24 ° C, while exceeding 25 degrees and up to 28 is considered “dangerous“. While if the thermometer shows 32 or more degrees with a relative humidity of 60%, it is contraindicated.
14. Take advantage of free time
We’d all like to have a little more free time in the day, but it turns out that having too much may not be a good thing. According to a new study by the American Psychological Association, people feel less happy and satisfied if they have more than seven hours of free time every day.
The researchers found that as free time increases, so does that person’s sense of well-being, but only up to a point. The study showed that after two hours of free time, the increase in well-being leveled off and, at five, began to decline.
That is why in that free time we have, it is always good to dedicate it to exercise. After a few weeks, the incredible thing is that you will feel the changes. The time to start ?: is always now.