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Why women want to exercise moderately during menopause

Only strenuous exercise is beneficial: this idea is outdated. Studies show that exercise in everyday life is particularly important for our health. Sometimes it even works more effectively than training in the gym. What everyone can do to live more vitally - and above all longer.

If you want to stay healthy, you should do sports. This is initially a banal insight. And yet the goal of getting regular and sufficient exercise is not easy to achieve. With a busy work and family life, the majority of Germans find it extremely difficult to be physically active. The exhaustion after a strenuous day at work is usually too great; and not everyone enjoys jogging or cycling or going to the gym.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends two and a half hours of moderately strenuous exercise per week. 

In fact, only a minority of German citizens achieve this goal. Others are often plagued by a guilty conscience. Many people ask themselves: What can I do if I have very little time or don't feel like exercising regularly? How can exercise be integrated into everyday life? Are the small efforts in between - such as climbing stairs - even worth it, or are they just for self-soothing? Is there perhaps a minimal sporting program for people who don't like exercise?

Every step counts Experts give a surprisingly clear answer: Every kind of movement is beneficial. Because it mobilizes our metabolism, sets complex physical processes in motion that reduce stress, strengthen our psyche and protect against illness. In addition, it is by no means necessary to exert yourself for a long period of time, as is usual with sport. Even short-term efforts add up and can significantly improve your health, such as lots of small movements in everyday life.

A large-scale study from Taiwan, in which researchers evaluated medical data from more than 400,000 people, showed how rewarding even a minimum of activity can be. The results of the study are as amazing as they are encouraging: Anyone who is physically active in some way for 15 minutes a day - perhaps walking, washing the car or gardening - increases their life expectancy by an average of three years. A quarter of an hour of exercise: During this time, many people can cycle quickly to work. Or mow the lawn. And even vigorous cleaning or vacuuming makes sense. According to researchers, it is particularly advisable to cover distances on foot.

According to the results of a British study, anyone who walks 1.4 kilometers a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as a stroke or a heart attack, by a sixth. For particularly keen walkers who walk at least 2.5 kilometers a day, the effect is even stronger: the risk is reduced by over 30 percent.

Create new habits in everyday life

For many people, 1.4 kilometers may sound unattainable. But the same applies here: the movement adds up. There are a variety of ways to create walking paths in everyday life. For example, on the way to work or home, you can get off the subway one stop early and walk the rest of the way. And anyone who consistently avoids escalators and elevators and instead climbs stairs has been proven to be good for their health (and their figure).

At the Geneva University Hospital, 77 employees gave up the elevator for a while for a study. On average, each participant climbed up and down 16 more floors per day. It only took three months: Then the test subjects had significantly more stamina, had lost an average of more than a pound, and their waist circumference had decreased by around 1.5 centimeters. Mind you: These people had changed nothing in their lives apart from climbing the stairs - and this alone had noticeably improved their health in a relatively short period of time.

Regular work around the house can apparently help to have a positive impact on your physical well-being. Swedish researchers came to this conclusion in a long-term study. Over twelve years, the experts documented the health and exercise behavior of more than 4,000 men and women over the age of 60. The result: Those who were moderately active several times a week in everyday life, such as gardening, DIY or shopping by bike, had an up to 30 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol levels.

Even regular everyday activities as gardeners reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses

Another study of 1.1 million British women came to a similar result: those participants who worked in the garden or around the house for at least two to three hours a week were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke or vascular blockage._11100000-0000 -0000-0000-000000000111_  _11100000-0000-0000-0000-00 0000000111_  

Therefore, more and more researchers are emphasizing how important such everyday activity is - and not only as a compensation for those who don't like sports, but also for amateur athletes. Because the segmented movement units (whether climbing stairs in the office, vacuuming or gardening at home) have an important advantage: they interrupt phases of sitting, a posture that is comfortable but unhealthy in the long term. Adults spend an average of nine hours of their waking hours in chairs. From the age of 60, people sit for around ten hours a day. Continuous squatting can cause orthopedic damage: the muscles become tense and muscle fibers and intervertebral discs are less supplied with nutrients. Anyone who sits hunched over at a desk constricts their lungs and digestive organs and risks a hunched back. What's more: Studies show that sitting for long periods of time promotes common diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, obesity and high blood pressure. It probably even increases the risk of several types of cancer. Those who sit too much gain weight more quickly, are more likely to get sick and, on average, die earlier - even, as some researchers suspect, if they decide to exercise after a day in a desk chair. A person who doesn't like fitness and is often on their feet during the day at work is probably healthier than a person who sits in the office for eight hours a day and regularly goes to the gym after work. The negative effects of sitting for long periods of time can be avoided quite easily. An Australian study has shown that even short interruptions have a positive effect. Even standing or walking around for a short time stimulates the metabolism, with all the positive side effects.

Tricks help to break routines  

But how do you manage to get up from your chair enough times? There are a few simple tricks that everyone can use in everyday office life to encourage themselves to get up regularly: for example, by placing the wastebasket in the corner of the room, by drinking a lot and therefore using the toilet often, or by using a shared printer in the next room.

The power of habit, that causes you to become lethargic, can even support us: studies show that a new behavior, such as a walk on the way home, can It will become a routine within a few weeks if you stick to it consistently. So if you consciously pay attention for a while to take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk a certain distance in the morning or evening, get up to make a phone call in the office, walk to the kitchen several times a day and make tea, or every Saturday to vacuum - soon he won't be able to do anything else. The more we manage to implement such seemingly simple movements in everyday life over the long term, the greater the sum of our entire activity is at the end of the day. And therefore also a plus for our health.

The immune system in particular benefits  

One of the most important protective functions of moderate exercise is its effect on our immune system: When the body becomes active, it produces more white blood cells of a certain type, which act as defense cells and fight dangerous invaders and foreign substances. However, as we age, fewer and fewer of these cells work in our bodies. But anyone who exercises regularly can slow down this process significantly. Our body's own immune system is particularly strengthened through moderate activities such as walking.

Regular exercise also increases the number of anti-inflammatory immune cells in the blood. In this way, exercise can prevent numerous diseases that arise as a result of chronic inflammatory processes, for example cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

More than that: Those who continue to be active promote the immune system, DNA repair and detoxification of their body in such a way that they can even prevent malignant tumors and also effectively support cancer treatment. In a long-term study of over 25,000 women, researchers found that regular exercise for at least four hours per week can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. According to another long-term study of almost 41,000 men, the risk of dying from cancer fell by a third when the subjects cycled or walked for just half an hour a day on average.

Moderate training is better than highly demanding training  

Exercise also improves your mood - and positive emotions also strengthen the immune system. Exercising a lot alone does not automatically offer the greatest possible protection against infections. On the contrary: hard training that places great demands on the body even weakens the immune system for a short time, so that swimmers, runners or cyclists, for example, are temporarily more susceptible to certain illnesses after very intensive or long-term exertion. High levels of stress, for example during a marathon, increase the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, which in turn can reduce the body's defense function in a complex way.

Ideal for the immune system is moderate and regular training, preferably in the fresh air. In particular, endurance activities such as jogging, cycling or swimming boost the body's defenses. Sweaty exercise is not necessary.

by Bertram Weiss  and Henning Engeln (GEO plus)


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