Sport: How much of it is good for us?

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Sports and exercise are essential for our bodies. But how often and how long we should exercise is not so easy to figure out.

We can’t do without movement.
We are genetically programmed to move. Even a short walk is good for the joints, and a sweaty workout gets the cardiovascular system going. Our bodies benefit from this even during rest periods because regular exercise strengthens the heart in the long term. The result: fewer strokes and heart attacks. Diseases such as diabetes, dementia, and cancer are also positively influenced by exercise.

Sport and hormones
When we exercise, many hormones, enzymes, and messenger substances are released – even when we are not performing at our best. Serotonin and dopamine have a mood-lifting effect. Myokines help supply the brain with oxygen. And a particular enzyme, telomerase, ensures that cells do not age prematurely.

The 10,000-step rule – a myth
There is a lot of discussion about the correct dose in sports, and you can find very different information on this. Right up front is the 10,000-step rule, which says you should walk 10,000 steps daily. However, this rule has no scientific basis. It’s more of a marketing coup: the number goes back to a pedometer that came on the market in the 1960s and was called the “10,000-step counter” when translated into German. It’s been around the world ever since.

How much exercise is excellent?
But there is also a whole range of data derived from studies. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is good – or 75 minutes of intense exercise. The British statistician David Spiegelhalter has calculated that anyone who jogs for 20 minutes daily lives an hour longer for it. Other researchers have concluded that 50 minutes of exercise daily can reduce the risk of death by half. However, it is essential to know: All these figures are only statistical averages. They cannot be used to derive fixed rules for the daily exercise routine of individual people.

There is no patent remedy for the correct dosage
The daily dose of sport and the type of training is as individual as each person. But there are a few rules: Those who are untrained should start slowly and not overexert themselves. Also important: older people benefit more from strength training than fitness training because muscles are built up in the process. Among other things, this relieves the strain on the joints. Younger people benefit more if they focus on endurance. This keeps the vessels elastic. But exercise is not everything. Lifestyle and genes also play a role in determining how to fit someone.

Climbing stairs also trains.
Exercise doesn’t have to take place in the gym. You’ll find a wide selection on the web if you need guidance on workouts. And you can also incorporate training into your daily routine and take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example. Or leave the car at home more often. And if you can’t outsmart your inner bad boy on your own, you can look for people to join in. No matter how you manage it, the main thing is to get moving. If you do it regularly, you’ll do a lot to stay fit and healthy.

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