Step by step - the healing power of movement

Actually, it's obvious. Our body is not there for us to spend our lives sitting and sitting, but for us to be in motion. Our joints, our skeleton, our brain, our blood system and almost all organs are made for a body in motion, not for a body in passivity. Accordingly, exercise promotes vitality, physical health and longevity and thus has a significant influence on the quality of life.

Decisive for the effect are not the type and intensity, but the regularity and joy (!) of movement. In this way you stay fit and efficient for a long time and prevent diseases. And this "healing power of movement" is still effective even when we are already suffering from a serious illness, as we will hear below.

Narrowing of coronary arteries and other blood vessels

In this disease, the blood vessels are constricted and solidified by deposits, especially blood lipids. The blood can then no longer circulate freely due to the bottlenecks. This means that the heart must pump more to get the blood through the narrowed blood vessels. This is how high blood pressure develops. The organs and tissues are poorly supplied with oxygen and nutrients. If this happens at the heart, the disease is called coronary artery stenosis; it can lead to a heart attack. Stroke may occur in the brain. Regular exercise can prevent these cardiovascular diseases, but can also stop the progression of existing vascular changes. This is because it has an influence on high blood pressure and blood lipids - and thus reduces the factors that burden the blood vessels.

Type 2 diabetes

Here the work of the hormone insulin is disturbed. This means that the cells cannot absorb glucose, which floats in the blood after eating. The sticky sugar then floats in the blood and packs blood vessels and organs from the inside. Regular exercise, however, improves insulin sensitivity of muscle cells. This means that the sugar can be returned to the muscle cells more easily. Physical exercise has therefore long been regarded as the third pillar of diabetes therapy, along with proper nutrition and insulin injections. It also helps diabetics who are not yet injecting insulin: With sport, they need considerably less medication and also do something for the heart and circulation.

breast cancer

Breast cancer is a disease caused by many factors. To prevent breast cancer, it is recommended that you avoid smoking and obesity and - exercise regularly. Moderate endurance sports and regular exercise stimulate the immune system. This is used in the fight against cancer cells. Approximately four hours of exercise per week is sufficient to reduce the risk of breast cancer. This applies in particular to women who are at risk of hereditary breast cancer. With the help of sport, you may not be able to prevent the outbreak of the disease, but you can push back the time of the disease. Even if the cancer is already present and has already spread, the further progression of the disease is clearly delayed according to recent findings. However, not all sports are suitable for this purpose. After breast cancer treatment, sports with incalculable strains on the arms are not recommended. This includes many ball and martial arts. On the other hand, swimming, gymnastics, water gymnastics, walking, hiking and jogging are usually possible and recommendable without problems.

colorectal cancer

People with good physical fitness die 2.7 times less frequently of cancer than their low-movement contemporaries - this applies in particular to colon cancer. Regular moderate training reduces the risk by half. There is another aspect of colorectal cancer: the risk increases by almost eighty percent in men if three or more of the following factors apply: High blood pressure, big belly, too much blood fat, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. You can reduce all these factors through regular exercise. In addition, the following explanation is also conceivable: Sport stimulates the natural intestinal movements, which is why active people's intestinal contents are transported to the outside faster than those of passive people. This also helps to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. It has also been shown that people who already have colon cancer also benefit from sport. If they move a lot and put little fat on the abdomen, their chance of surviving colon cancer diagnosis for the next five years is significantly higher than that of unsportsmanlike individuals with a belly base.

Aging of the cells

Physical activity not only keeps the cardiovascular system and organs healthy, it also slows down cell ageing. This is shown by twin research: Physically active subjects have a longer life expectancy of about ten years compared to almost inactive subjects. However, the researchers do not yet know exactly how physical activity influences the ageing process in the cell. Sport and exercise inhibit inflammatory reactions and help to reduce oxidative stress in the cells, perhaps this is a possible explanation. In the ideal case, sport gives us a long and healthy life.

In addition, regular exercise also strengthens the soul and strengthens mental health, helps to cope with stress, promotes social integration and, last but not least, models the figure. It is therefore only recommendable on the whole line - at any age!

Copyright: Landeszentrale fuer Gesundheitsfoerderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. (LZG) Germany

Text: Dr. Beatrice Wagner, Editor: Birgit Kahl