Surely sport is a powerful tool to improve one’s quality of life , provided it is done in the right way. Many people play sports, but incredibly only a small part of them derive decisive benefits, the others take only some advantages, others even worse their quality of life due to a poor interpretation of sports.
The sport practiced in the most correct way allows:
- protect us from the diseases that kill most people;
- let us live our life in a more dynamic and active way;
- let us stay active for longer, slowing down the decay of physical performance in an impressive way, especially after 40 years;
- improve our physical appearance;
- improve our willpower.
In this section we will understand how to do sports to get all these results. We will conclude that sport should be practiced:
- with sufficient intensity and frequency;
- with sufficient prudence to avoid accidents;
- always keeping the motivation high, in order to practice it forever.
Intensity, duration and frequency of training
By now science has demonstrated unequivocally that under a certain intensity sport is not able to change our body in such a way as to protect us against diseases and make us live better and longer. One of the first studies was carried out at the beginning of the last century at Harvard, on 17,000 students followed from 1916 to 1950. This study associated the lower cardiovascular risk to those who practiced medium-high intensity sports for 6-8 hours a week , so about an hour a day.
Other recent studies, carried out by the Center for Healh Promotion and Education in Atlanta, confirm that only those who practice sports with sufficient volume and intensity obtain real benefits in terms of health. The greatest benefits are obtained with one hour of aerobic activity a day (equivalent to running as intensity) while under the 2-3 hours a week the true benefits are lost all.
In 2006 a review was published (a study that makes the “point of the situation” summarizing the findings of all the studies carried out on the topic). This publication has shown that physical activity is able to decrease mortality in a continuous and progressive way with increasing calories consumed per week. The minimum caloric consumption to get some results is 500 kcal per week, the maximum one of 3100 kcal. Therefore, an average calorie consumption of 200-300 kcal per day (1400-2100 kcal per week) is able to decrease mortality by about 30%, ie to reduce the risk of death by 1/3.
How to do then to find out if we are practicing sport in the right way?
With the fitness test, we verify that we are practicing sport with the right intensity.
The minimum duration to consume 200-300 kcal per day is equal to 3-5 hours (depending on the type of sport) the week of real physical activity (excluding heating and cool down), for a minimum frequency of 3 times.