More than half of Spaniards (56%) exercised less during home confinement derived from the covid-19 pandemic, according to a study carried out by the Spanish Society of Obesity (SEEDO). This decrease in physical activity, together with a worse diet, resulted in 44% of the population gaining weight in those months of March and April 2020.
“Unfortunately, that trend that was born in those months of confinement has continued to this day: restrictions on leisure and mobility, the generalization of teleworking and the fear of practicing sports that may involve physical contact or staying in closed spaces such as the gym usually leads us to move much less in the day to day », says Eduardo González Zorzano, expert from Cinfa’s Scientific department.
He assures that the consequences of lack of physical activity go far beyond weight gain: «our body works like a precise machinery that to stay in perfect condition and continue to function properly, you must move and stay active. If you don’t, in addition to being overweight or obese —in turn, disease risk factors chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease — many health disorders can appear, such as circulatory problems, musculoskeletal pain, poorer sleep quality or constipation, “he explains.
Benefits of sport
On the other hand, physical activity practiced on a regular basis produces many positive effects on the body. At the anatomical level, it increases muscle mass and bone density, improves respiratory condition and reduces the risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular problems. It also increases strength and endurance, as well as mobility and agility in the elderly, and strengthens the immune system.
“So, even in this uncertain context, it is crucial to continue practicing physical activity And although the pandemic does not make it easy for us, we have to find a way to dedicate some time each day to physical exercise. Its frequency and intensity will depend on our age, our capacities, needs and previous state of health. But above all, and taking advantage of the fact that we have just started 2021, it is about making a New Year’s resolution and betting on an active life: walking instead of taking the car, going up the stairs instead of using the elevator or dedicating a while to go for a walk on our weekend, for example ”, emphasizes González Zorzano.
Ten tips to avoid a sedentary lifestyle
1. Be active. The battle against sedentary lifestyle begins with changing your attitude and having the will to move more on a day-to-day basis. For example, walk to places instead of using the car or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
2. Practice half an hour of physical exercise a day. In addition to having an active attitude, it is advisable to take action and practice some sport every day. If you are unable to perform your usual activities or go to the gym due to restrictions due to the pandemic, you can ride a bike, run, dance or walk, making the most of the outdoors.
3. Don’t forget to warm up before. And neither, to stretch afterwards, as both precautions are essential to reduce the risk of injury during moderately intense sports practice: the pre-warm-ups allow your body to increase the temperature and prepare for the exercise, while the subsequent stretches are key to relieve tension in muscles and tendons.
4. If you are confined or quarantined, move home. Do some physical activity every day, depending on your age, level of mobility and personal situation. For example, you can walk indoors for ten to fifteen minutes several times a day or go up and down flights of stairs.
5. Take advantage of new technologies. Similarly, if the possibility exists, carry out activities such as Pilates, Zumba or aerobics by following videos, tutorials or applications on your mobile phone or tablet.
6. Spend some time doing an exercise chart. Just as effective and beneficial as aerobic activity can be doing series of toning or strength exercises and stretching. In this way, your body will gain, in addition to greater muscle tone and resistance, more elasticity in muscles and joints.
7. Watch your breathing when doing physical activity. Don’t hold it back and remember to breathe out the moment you make the effort and to take it in the moment you relax. In this way, you will provide your body with enough oxygen for exercise, you will perform more and reduce the risk of injury. This is especially important if you exercise outside the home with a mask.
8. During teleworking, remember to get up regularly. Sitting for too long can be very harmful to the body, so if your work day is spent from home, take breaks of five or ten minutes for every fifty minutes of work in front of the computer. With this, you will help to take care of your back, legs and sight, and reduce mental fatigue.
9. Don’t let age stop you. This does not have to be an impediment, you simply have to adapt the intensity of the activity to your physical capacity. Ask your doctor what type of exercises may be the most convenient for your age and remember that you should not feel fatigued or feel short of breath.
10. Hydrate your body. Try to drink around two liters of water a day, but especially before, during and after exercise, when we lose a large amount of water and electrolytes through sweat. Staying hydrated will also help you combat constipation that a sedentary lifestyle can cause.
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