After a certain age, people’s attitude to health, their health awareness changes. Ideally, they will tend to do something more actively for their health too, including regular physical exercise. Physical exercise helps maintain a sense of general wellbeing and can contribute to preventing several diseases. Doing some sport regularly is closely associated with eating healthy, stress release and adequate fluid intake ( 2-2.5 litres daily) and is also linked to getting enough rest and sleep. The two most important factors affecting mental health are depression and stress. Regular physical exercise has been shown to be able to relieve both.

Why is exercising good for us?

  • - Doing sport regularly is one of the best ways to switch your mind off for an hour, to get comfortably tired, to get rid of daily stresses, it will help you sleep better and wake up feeling fresh and ready to start the day.
  • - Most sports have a social aspect as well. You can find new friends and meet new people.

What makes us decide to start exercising?

  • There is always an initial impulse in the background which most often comes from our close environment. Our friends may recommend some popular new sport, or many people simply feel the need to do something, to change their life style because they no longer feel comfortable and satisfied with how they look, others may want to prevent diseases and are thinking of wanting to stay active till old age. Another source of motivation may be a disease or condition someone we know is suffering from which we would want avoid.
  • -Starting gradually is important! It might sometimes be necessary to check the initial physical status, especially in the case of those that have never done any sport before. We have to learn how to do the chosen sport safely, to know where our boundaries are, and we have to do everything gradually since if we get carried away we may sustain an injury.
  • - If you suffer from a disease or have had a previous injury it is important that you consult an expert. Your trainer, physiotherapist and treating physician should also have to know about you wanting to start workout and they may provide you advice with regard to the form of exercising that would be safe and good for you.
  • - It is very important that the body should get used to exercising gradually, and the same is true for lifestyle change. You might only be able to cycle for 10 minutes at first but after a week it may increase up to 15-20 minutes. The goal is not to exhaust yourself but to enjoy what you are doing and to feel content and happy afterwards. Never forget warming-up and stretching after you have finished.

A well-trained, experienced physiotherapist or trainer will have the skills to give non-verbal feedback, to intervene and change the training schedule if necessary. A continuous communication with your trainer is necessary to achieve efficiency and ensure physical safety.

What sport to choose?

The best are sports that exercise the cardiovascular system, heart and lungs. If it relaxes you better when you exercise on your own and you prefer getting immersed into your thoughts while exercising swimming, power walking or running are ideal for you. These are sports where you can decide about the speed, the distance and the time you devote to training each time.

Team sports also have their advantages. When part of a team you can always motivate each other and the training sessions are usually spent in good mood as you are with people that share this experience with you. When wanting to shape up there is a variety of sports you can choose from e.g. tennis, cycling, ballroom dancing or Nordic walking. Yoga and pilates facilitate regaining inner harmony, relaxation and peace. Choose the one that is most ideal for you. Do not hesitate to try spine gymnastics – you’ll be surprised, that despite rumours, it will exercise muscles you didn’t know existed and you will surely realise how difficult some seemingly easy movements can actually be. Gyms are practically open from early morning till late in the evening and you can hire a personal trainer if you feel you need a professional to supervise your exercising.150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly keeps both your body and soul fit, but once you start exercising make sure to continue for at least 10 minutes!

Interesting facts

Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed in the holistic approach that only by treating both the body and the soul can you achieve harmony. He emphasised the fact that a physician also has to deal with matters of the soul, as he realised how significant a role the psyche has in the development of disease. He claimed that complete recovery can only be achieved by attending to both. Most of you have surely felt the pain in the muscles of the back of the neck which is a sign of having had too much stress. That is why it feels so good when someone offers to give us a little massage and by pressing these muscles relieves our inner tension and stress.

In conclusion, let me end up this article with an evergreen definition formulated by the WHO: ’Health is the state of complete physical, emotional and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ (definition by the World Health Organization).

Adrienn Hanzel

physiotherapist, certified public health expert