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At 50, everything is just beginning: how to train if you are not already young

Social network users in July actively discussed the dance of the millionaire, Italian Gianluca Vacca, with his young wife, Georgia Gabriela. And, perhaps, this dance would not have attracted much attention if not for Gianluca himself, who at forty-nine merely looks amazing. Absolute originality distinguishes its plasticity and ability to move to deserve special attention, and the dance itself. The figure of Gianluca, undoubtedly, causes the envy of many men, even younger ones, especially since most people associate the rich with fat, clumsy men, on an expensive yacht surrounded by young models. For information on how to keep fit if you are not 20 years old, read the article by the m24.ru columnist, fitness trainer and TV presenter Eduard Kanevsky.

It is people like Gianluca who break stereotypes. His instagram has a lot of photos of “a beautiful life”, a happy family, tattoos, but there are photos and videos from his workouts, including in the gym. Regular training, proper nutrition and proper motivation, this is his secret of youth – it cannot be otherwise. This means that absolutely every man can look the same and even better if he changes his lifestyle – watching TV with a bottle of beer – for an evening run in the park.

And there is no connection with the prosperity of the hero of my article and his physical form, because for regular training sometimes you don’t even need any equipment or specialized gyms at all, the main problem of most people is laziness.

But how to start training if the last time you were in the stadium or the gym was five, ten, or maybe someone twenty years ago? Or never really did? How to start training if you are far from twenty years old, and, perhaps, like the hero of this article, already under 50 years old? About this, in this article, which is explicitly dedicated to men aged forty plus. But young children also have something to learn from it, because of not only adults “start” themselves.

Where to begin?

If you have decided to take up your figure finally, first you need to understand what your health is. It is no secret that a sedentary lifestyle, physical inactivity, as well as improper diet, lead to serious health problems, including, from the side of the cardiovascular system, digestive organs, musculoskeletal system and so on. Therefore, I recommend going through the adequate old medical examination without fail to everyone who finally decided to take care of themselves. If you are obese, I recommend that you look into the office of a nutritionist, since it is obesity that can give severe restrictions to specific physical activity. Also, without fail, you will need a doctor’s consultation – LFK. The more weight you have, the more rules you have and they must be taken into account when planning your workouts.

First trainings

There is nothing worse than a quick result. Moreover, an immediate result often backfires. This is especially true for people who want to lose weight. In dietetics, this is called the “yoyo effect”, when a person, using incorrect diets or even starvation, abruptly loses tens of extra pounds, and then, breaking down on food, adds more than he lost. Even if you decide to lose weight through physical activity or want to gain muscle mass, also with their help, and you are no longer 18, do not strive for a noticeable result in a short time at all. You can seriously harm yourself, in particular through serious injury. Remember, the slower the product, the more stable it is.

It was not for nothing that I mentioned the exercise therapy specialist. Suppose during the health check you did not reveal any pathologies. In that case, you are lucky, and you can train in almost any zone of the fitness club or on the street because running, rollerblading or cross-country skiing is not prohibited in winter. But what if you put on dozens of extra pounds, which severely restrict movement and increase the risk of injury? Yes, it would help if you saw a specialist. But if you do not have the opportunity to get to such, it’s okay, because for people with overweight there is always a universal shell – this is water. The main advantage of exercising in water is a decrease in the load on the joints and the spine, as well as an intense effect on all muscles of the body, which enhances the impact of training with an inevitable increase in calorie consumption. The best direction in the water is aqua aerobics, which many men defiantly ignore, they say, only women are engaged there. Although, this is the stupidest excuse if you have problems with being overweight and you want to lose weight. But on land, there is also an alternative for self-training. Firstly, this is brisk walking on rough terrain, if the load is not enough for you, then try Norwegian walking with special poles. Your main goal is to start exercising regularly.

How often and for how long?

In the first stages of training, three sessions a week for 45 minutes are enough. In the future, you can increase the duration of the lesson to an hour, twenty hours, but this time will include a warm-up before training and a mandatory cool-down at the end. Any full-fledged workout lasts an hour strictly. Remember, you are no longer teenagers who recover from workouts much faster than you do. Moreover, training too long can hurt yourself.

Gym

The gym is a mandatory component of training for men, not only for building a good figure but also for the work of the whole organism as a whole. The fact is that muscles do not grow without the male hormone testosterone, the level of which, with age, inevitably decreases. That is why men after 40 so need strength training as a real “means” to prolong male youth. Strength training has been shown to increase levels of a significant male hormone.

But you need to work out in the gym as carefully as possible. Gradually learning the technique of performing this or that movement, slowly increasing the weight of the weights and in no case trying to set “power records” The optimal mode of work for men after forty is 15-20 repetitions for three approaches in the first month of training. In the future, the number of repetitions can be reduced to 12-15.

You can be active, beautiful and slim at any age; the main thing is to want it. Remember, quality of life is determined not only by the thickness of your wallet but also by how you feel and look.

Cheating, pumping, etc.: the basics of fitness slang for beginners

The most budgetary fitness club or premium establishment with state-of-the-art equipment; a giant sports complex or a small basement “rocking chair” – it doesn’t matter where you go to practice. There will be good old barbells and dumbbells, which are also called “free weights”. And this is not surprising, because it has been proven that the most effective workouts (especially for those who want to gain muscle mass) are working with free weights.

Nearly fifty percent of all fitness club subscription buyers visit the gym to “sip” a barbell. But to do it right, it is not enough to have the right technique. It is also essential to understand the specialized terminology that people continuously use in gyms. The columnist for the Moscow 24 portal, fitness expert and TV presenter Eduard Kanevsky reveals the basic concepts that “pitching” uses.

Any industry has its terms, and when one of them speaks to another specialist, he immediately understands what he is talking about and performs the necessary action. It’s the same in the gym: when the coach says, “Don’t cheat!” – a competent ward immediately understands what exactly he did wrong. And the trainer does not need to spend a dozen words to quickly correct the technique of performing the exercise or make adjustments to the rhythm of the training.

Cheating

A method that is used by all practitioners, without exception, and often incorrectly, since they do it intuitively, which, is not beneficial and can cause injury. So what is it? Cheating (from English – affair) in bodybuilding is the deliberate distortion of technique to perform more repetitions.

For example, when the practitioner performs “lifting the bar for biceps”. In the initial position, the back is straight; the bar must be held with a grip slightly wider than the shoulders, in the initial position, the arms are straight but tense. You need to bend them at the elbows and slowly straighten them to their original position. But when a person gets tired or takes too much weight, he leans forward and, with a sharp movement using the body, throws the bar up, and then just as quickly lowers it down. It turns out that the exercise is performed not by muscles, but by inertial movement. Yes, there is a small load, but when you force your muscles to work with a weight that they cannot handle, the training efficiency will be very low, but the risk of injury is high!
Cheating is needed to “finish off” the muscle in one or two reps – just after you have performed eight to twelve reps with high quality. Your muscles are tired, you feel an intense burning sensation, but you want to load them even more so that the result is better – this is where cheating is used. However, in the following way: you really help to raise the bar with an inertial motion with the help of the body, but you fix it in the upper position and return it to the starting position as slowly as possible, under control, straining your arms as much as possible.
Yes, it’s hard and even painful, but safe and effective. The same applies to any exercise where it is possible to “help” yourself with the body. But this option, when, for example, you perform a “bench press” and, to do more reps, “spring” the barbell against the chest – this is no longer cheating, but an insanely traumatic method. And if you want also to increase the load in the bench movements, then you will need another tactic, the description of which can be found below.

Forced repetitions

They are ideal for exercises where you cannot help yourself with inertial motion. For example “bench press”. At the moment when you completed the specified number of repetitions and the last repetition was given to you as hard as possible – do the following: lower the barbell as slowly as possible to the lowest point, and your partner or coach is already helping you straighten your arms. It is essential that the belayer does not lift the barbell for you, but only helps a little.

It turns out that your muscles are working beyond their capacity – this gives good strength stress and results. I would especially emphasize that it is better to perform forced repetitions no more than once and only in the final set. This method is used for all types of presses: barbells and dumbbells, for some types of deadlifts, and even for pull-ups on the bar.

But you must be properly insured. There are many videos on the Internet where the belayer is so illiterately trying to “help” that he drops the barbell on the occupant or himself, or takes the weight into another plane – because of which the person gets injured. If you are doing alone and need help, then it is better to ask the coach of the club than to an “idle” amateur.

Pumping

An excellent method for working on muscle definition. From English, pump is a pump, that is, your task is to “pump” as much blood as possible into the working muscle for the approach. This is achieved by work with low weights, the highest quality exercise performance and a large number of repetitions – an average of 15-20 per set.

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WARMING UP, STRETCHING, WARMING UP AND COOLING DOWN – ARE THEY REALLY IMPORTANT?

Stretching or warm-up is the foundation of any workout plan that is, unfortunately, often forgotten. Simultaneously, it plays a critical role in building muscle, reducing muscle mass, and healing injuries. Read what stretching techniques we know and what benefits they hide.

Difference between stretching, warming up and cooling down.

The difference between stretching and warming up before a workout lies in their purpose. The goal of stretching is to increase joint flexibility and range. However, it is essential to increase your body temperature and blood flow to your muscles when warming up. These techniques are usually done before training, but you can stretch after training and cooling. However, all three forms of exercise are part of the same set – warm-ups.

Warming up, stretching, warming up and cooling down - are they really important?

Warming up

They were warming up before exercise is essential injury prevention. Proper warming up revitalizes the cardiovascular system by increasing body temperature and blood flow to the muscles. [2] Warming up also prepares your muscles for stress during exercise. If the muscles are warm enough during the warm-up, it will increase the range of motion and reduce the risk of injury during exercise. Examples of a good warm-up are aerobic exercise such as cycling, walking, or jogging, which you should do for at least 5-10 minutes.

Cooling

After training, your heart rate increases, and your muscles tense. Therefore, the goal of cooling is to bring the heart rate back to normal and prevent the formation of a sore throat. An example of cooling down after exercise is, for example, brisk walking with gradual deceleration. Cooling is significant for endurance athletes like marathon runners because it helps them regulate blood flow in the body after a long period of physical activity.

Stretching

Stretching, stretching the muscles can be done before or after training. Its main pre-workout goal is to improve joint range and reduce the risk of injury during exercise. You can try stretching your entire body or just focus on a specific muscle group you plan to train later. However, after exercise, stretching has an entirely different function, and its purpose is to prevent muscle soreness. Stretching can also be very relaxing, both physically and mentally.

The benefits of stretching and warming up muscles

Increases productivity

By far, the best benefit of stretching or warming up your muscles is how it affects your performance. It helps improve in three significant ways:

  • Improves Circulation – Warming up or stretching for 10 minutes, improves circulation, and opens blood capillaries, which have been associated with improved subsequent physical performance.
  • Improves oxygen function – oxygen is released more quickly into the muscles at higher temperatures. If you stretch before your workout, you will warm up your muscles to be ready for peak performance during your workout. If you skip stretching, oxygen can be released into your muscles during exercise for extended periods, which can negatively affect your performance.
  • Accelerates Muscle Contractions – Warming up the muscles before exercise raises the body temperature. This leads to better nerve transmission and muscle metabolism. As a result, your muscles will respond faster and more efficiently to all stimuli during and after exercise.
Difference between stretching, warming up and cooling down

Serves as injury prevention

With an effective and consistent pre-workout warm-up, you relax your joints, increase their range, and improve blood flow to your muscles. All of these aspects are extremely important in preventing injury. The harder and bloodless your muscles are, the higher your risk of injury during exercise.

The benefits of stretching and warming up muscles

Removes heat from the body

The activation of the body’s heat dissipation mechanisms promotes effective muscle cooling, preventing overheating and subsequent overtraining. This benefit is especially important during intense aerobic activity, such as running or cycling. [5] [6] [7]

Balances hormone production

During exercise, the body increases the production of various hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. They are directly responsible for regulating energy production and your physical performance. If you skip a pre-workout warm-up, these hormones may be activated late and do not affect. On the contrary, you can activate them already during the warm-up, which will give your body enough energy during the workout. [16] You can read about the effect of hormones on muscle mass growth and regeneration in our article. 

Cooling benefits

Supports Rapid Post Workout Recovery

After intense and challenging workouts, lactic acid builds up in the muscles. It is an organic substance that is formed when glucose is broken down in muscles. At rest, the body produces only a small amount, and then travels to the liver, converted back to glucose. However, more glucose is produced during increased physical activity, which also creates higher levels of lactic acid, which the liver cannot process. Therefore, it builds up in the muscles and causes cramps, muscle aches, or even muscle fever. Therefore, phase cooling after exercise helps remove lactic acid from the muscles, thereby helping to recover faster and preventing DOMS formation. Creatine, which also energizes muscles, has also been another excellent means of reducing lactic acid production during exercise.

Reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Pain (DOMS)

Delayed onset of muscle soreness, or DOMS, Eng. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) usually starts a day or two after training. Pain that you experience during or immediately after exercise is another type of muscle pain, also called acute muscle pain. This is due to lactic acid production and is accompanied by pain immediately after exercise.

DOMS can trigger any exercise that creates small microscopic cracks in the muscle fibers. The body responds to this damage by increasing inflammation, leading to a delayed onset of muscle soreness. DOMS or DOMS symptoms to look out for may include:

  • sensitive muscles to touch
  • decreased range of motion due to pain and stiffness when moving
  • swelling of the affected muscles
  • muscle fatigue
  • short-term loss of muscle strength

Research has shown that effective DOMS prevention is post-workout cooling by stretching and stretching or massaging stressed muscle areas.

Stretching promotes quick recovery after exercise

Stretching types

Just as there are different types of training, there are several forms of stretching. During the warm-up, you can focus on static, dynamic, and ballistic stretches. Let’s see what the difference is between them. 

Static stretching

This is the most common stretch. His technique is to stretch a muscle or muscle group to the farthest point and maintain that position. This type of stretching is considered the safest way to stretch your muscles. This gives the muscles and connective tissues plenty of time to relax.

Static stretching is usually done before strength training, stretching the muscles you intend to train. However, many practitioners find this stretching to be much less effective than dynamic stretching because dynamic warm-up significantly increases the range of motion.

Dynamic stretching

Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching is a popular way to warm up muscles before aerobic exercise. The dynamic warm-up consists of the muscles’ maximum warming up by repeating the movement several times in a row. Thus, dynamic stretching aims to improve flexibility before performing any sport, running, cycling, or other aerobic activity. An example of dynamic stretching is, for example, a sprinter who takes too long strides before running to establish a maximum range of motion for upcoming power.

Stretching types

Ballistic stretch

Many athletes confuse this stretching with dynamic stretching. However, there is a significant difference between them. A dynamic warm-up is based on regular, repetitive, and deliberately coordinated movements. However, ballistic stretching uses irregular, abrupt, mostly aerobic movements such as high-intensity jumping or sprinting. At the same time, when ballistic stretching, the maximum range of motion must be exceeded. However, it is important to note that this type of stretching is more prone to injury and should only be performed by experienced athletes.

Passive stretching

Depending on the type of acting force, stretching can be divided into passive and active. Passive stretching occurs when external force helps to reach the maximum point of the range. This can be caused by gravity, another person, or a tensioning device such as expanders or pendant reinforcement systems. The point is that the muscle you want to stretch is not under primary stress, so you can relax while stretching. Passive stretching is extremely useful in relieving muscle spasms that are treating injuries.

Active stretching

Active stretching is characterized by using one’s strength to maintain the position in the stretch. This is the opposite of passive stretching. For example, lifting your legs off the ground while lying down and use only leg strength to keep them in the air. For passive stretching, you can use arm support, for example, to keep your leg in the air. Thus, active stretching requires more effort but is more effective for muscle building and flexibility.

How to do proper and effective stretching

Myofascial release

A massage roller or other massage device is used for this type of stretching. Its application to muscles relieves myofascial tension and improves the flexibility of the fascia. The fascia is a specialized connective tissue system that connects the entire body. It affects bones, muscles, joints, nerves and is located in the brain and spinal cord. Therefore, it is essential to take care of the fascial system and to stimulate it regularly. Tension at one fascial point also affects more distant sites as it is a closely interconnected system. So if you feel the tension in your calf, consider that this tension is not only in the calf but also in other parts of the body. 

How to do proper and effective stretching

  • Duration of Stretch – Several studies indicate that stretching or cooling one part of a muscle should take 30 to 60 seconds. [fifteen] 
  • The number of repetitions depends on several factors, such as your physical condition, age, or gender. However, please do not overdo it with stretching and do as many reps as possible. It’s essential to listen to your body.
  • Breathing will help you relax. You should inhale slowly before stretching the muscle and exhale slowly as you stretch it. The exhalation should not be intensified but natural.
  • When to Stretch – To achieve optimal results and prevent injury, stretching, warming up, and cooling down muscles should be part of every training plan you do.

Types of stretching for parts of muscles

You already understand the theory of stretching and warming up muscles. It’s time to start training. What should this stretch look like? It all depends on which group you decide to train. However, it is optimal to focus on stretching the whole body. [10] [11] [12]

Full body stretch

The advantage of stretching the whole body is that no matter what kind of workout you’re going to do, every muscle will be adequately stretched. The basis is to start with the head and gradually move on to the feet while not forgetting a single muscle part.

I am stretching specific parts of the muscles.

An increasingly popular technique, especially among bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts, is to accept stretching only on specific muscle areas, especially for those you will strain after stretching. So, see how stretching the muscles of individual body parts should look like.

The stretch focuses on specific areas of the muscles – the shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles:

Feet and Ankles – Many athletes, especially bodybuilders, forget to train this muscle part. These are muscles that are directly associated with the calf muscles or hamstrings. They are mainly used for running, cycling, and strength training during deadlifts. Therefore, if you don’t stretch your feet and ankles properly, you can get nasty injuries.

Stretching on the feet and ankles:

Calves – The calf muscles are also often underestimated during warm-up. Simultaneously, it is in the calf muscle that muscle cramps occur most often during exercise. A great warm-up exercise is to stretch your calves from a wall. Stand facing a wall, step forward with your right foot and leave your left facing outward so that you lean forward slightly. Press the heel of your outstretched leg to the ground until you feel the calf tightening. Of course, there are many more calf exercises out there, so you can always spice up your warm-up.

Calf stretch:

Hips – here, you need to focus on stretching the front and back muscles of the thigh. When stretching the anterior thigh muscles, standing leg extension is effective. Stand on both legs and bend one leg so that the heel touches the ischial muscles. Then grab the heel with your hands and hold it in this position for at least 30 seconds. During this exercise, you should feel the tension in your anterior thigh muscles.

Conversely, if you want to train your back thigh muscles or hamstrings, you need to focus on another exercise type. Sit straight on the ground. Keep your back straight and try to touch your toes. However, in no case, bend your knees during this exercise. Otherwise, it will be ineffective.

Thigh stretch:

Back – when warming up the back, it is necessary to start stretching the cervical spine. This is precisely what many do, be it cardio or strength training. The primary type of warm-up is tilting the head forward, backward, left, and right. After training the cervical spine, you will go down to the lumbar part, pull with bending forward, and with the whole body. You can also use yoga poses to train your neck, cervical spine, and lower back.

Backstretch:

Shoulders, Triceps, and Biceps – The core of the shoulder stretch is to extend your arm, bend it at the elbow, and place it behind your head while holding it with your other hand. Sure, this is one of the most straightforward exercises, but if you have strenuous shoulder workouts in the gym, you should focus on a more comprehensive warm-up. The same goes for triceps and biceps, which should be given a separate time when stretching.

Shoulder stretch:

Biceps stretch:

Triceps stretch:

Schedule a workout plan step by step:

  1. warming up muscles due to short aerobic loads
  2. stretching the whole body or a specific muscle group
  3. self-training
  4. stretching the whole body after training
  5. cooling

However, keep in mind that there will be no results without the correct execution of individual exercises. Therefore, if you decide to include stretching and warm-up in your training plan, which you absolutely must do, carefully study the correct exercise technique.

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Life without strain: 13 habits to improve your health

Shot from the film "Always say yes"

You don’t have to live the life of a fitness blogger to feel better. These simple tricks can help you take better care of yourself and take the time to do things that make you happy.

  • Place washed fruits and vegetables in a prominent place.

A vase or a plate with fruits and vegetables is not only pleasant interior decoration but also a useful reminder that you need to eat at least 400 g of fruits [ 1 ], vegetables and berries every day. If such a snack is in front of your eyes, it will be easier for you not to forget to eat healthily.

  • Do not bring work papers and laptop to bed.

The bed, and ideally, the entire bedroom, should be associated only with sleep and sex, and not with work [ 2 ]. This approach can help you manage or prevent sleep disturbances if any.

  • In the summer, replace your regular hand cream in your bag with SPF.

Sunscreen should be used every two hours [ 3 ] and renewed additionally after every hand washing, bathing or sweating. Choose a cream in a small package or an SPF stick and regularly apply to your hands and other exposed areas of the body, including the back neck, ears and tops of the feet – these are often overlooked places.

  • Put extra sunglasses in your bag, car, or leave at work.

Leaving your home in the pouring rain, it’s no wonder you forget your sunglasses. And regret it when you have to walk in the bright sun. It’s not just about convenience: glasses protect the sensitive skin around the eyes and can reduce the risk of cataracts [ 4 ].

Photo: SOCIAL.  CUT / Unsplash
  • Walk half an hour a day.

Not necessarily in one go: 15 minutes in the morning and evening or after lunch is also a great option. Any physical activity is better than nothing, even if it only takes 10 minutes [ 5 ]. Half an hour a day will already reduce the risk of several diseases [ 6 ], and increasing this indicator will bring even more benefits.

  • Place the book by your bed and read before bed.

Regular reading before bed will help you tune in to rest and prevent insomnia. Please note that it is better to take just a paper book [7] and when choosing literature, avoid texts that can throw you off balance.

Photo: Sincerely Media / Unsplash
  •  Do not put your phone and other gadgets on charging next to the bed.

At least an hour before bedtime, it is better to stop using your phone, tablet or laptop [ 8 ]. To avoid the temptation to quickly check the news or social networks before bedtime, put your gadgets away.

  • Keep track of how much you sleep.

Seven hours a day is the norm for an adult [ 9 ]. If you find yourself sleeping less, try to get there. Sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression [ 10 ]. Those who do not get enough sleep even get colds more often [ 11 ].

Photo: Claudia Mañas / Unsplash

Get up and go to bed at the same time on weekdays and weekends.

It will help in the prevention and treatment of sleep disorders [ 12 ]. To establish a habit, you need to adhere to a schedule, without allowing for exceptions always.

  1. Do breathing exercises every day.

It is an excellent way to cope with daily stressful situations, lower blood pressure and slow your heart rate [ 13 ]. It is enough to spend 10-20 minutes on exercise, preferably at the same time, to create a habit.

  1. Make to-do lists for the day, week and month.

This habit will help reduce anxiety and make your accomplishments more visible [ 14 ]. A shopping list before going to the store will save you from unnecessary expenses, a to-do list for tomorrow will relieve your head before bed, and a list of books will show you how much you read.

Photo: Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash
  • Ventilate the room at least twice a day.

The air in a home or office is often much dirtier than outside [ 15 ], so ventilation is the easiest way to ensure optimal temperature [16], humidity and fresh air flow into the room.

  • Buy natural air fresheners instead of aerosols.

Research shows that aerosols are more harmful than beneficial [ 17 ]. They can only be used in well-ventilated areas, but even so, it is better to do it less frequently. The optimal home replacement is aromatic oils with natural ingredients. 

Fitness addiction: how to stop and stay healthy

Photo: John Arano / Unsplash

When it comes to addictions, we usually think of something harmful. It turns out that you can also become addicted to useful things—for example, training in the gym. We will tell you how this can turn out.

Fitness addiction is an obsessive desire to exercise and an obsession with one’s appearance. So, if an addicted person, for some reason, does not exercise for 24-36 hours, he begins to experience irritation, anxiety, fatigue and guilt. It would seem that depending on the sport, there is nothing wrong – instead, on the contrary. However, if the desire to become slimmer and healthier gets out of control, it will become fraught with problems not only with health but also with personal life.

Why fitness is addictive

According to a study by French psychiatrists, about 42% of people are subject to fitness addiction. Moreover, this applies equally to both men and women. It all starts with the desire to improve your body, to make it fitter. A person selects an individual load independently or with the help of an instructor. It’s hard at first. Despite this, he continues to exercise regularly, and at some point, realizes that he no longer gets the desired satisfaction from training. To experience the pleasant sensation of lifting again after exercise, he begins to continually increase the intensity and duration of the activities, spending all his free time in the gym. At the same time, the fitness addict gets hung up on the smallest flaws in his figure.

According to Finnish scientists, post-workout wellness is easily explained using biochemistry. During exercise, the brain is actively synthesizing the hormone of happiness – endorphin. In its chemical structure, it resembles strong pain relievers. This hormone dulls muscle pain, improves mood, reduces stress levels, and induces pleasure and unreasonable joy. Thus, the brain’s reward system is activated, and the newly minted athlete becomes a hostage of “euphoric memory.” In other words, he is addicted to fitness, like drugs or alcohol. And when our body adapts to these endorphin releases, the number of receptors that perceive it increases. As a result, the hormone of joy requires more and more.

Photo: Meghan Holmes / Unsplash

Why is fitness addiction dangerous?

The first problems arise when there is an addiction to substances that cause a state of mild euphoria. Since fitness lovers want to experience the pleasant sensations again, they begin to skip rest days and continue to exercise in the gym even after the onset of pain. This is fraught with damage to tendons and joints, sprains and even fractures. Girls also have an increased risk of menstrual irregularities. Also, during exercise, the body actively produces cortisol, a stress hormone. Due to its excess, fat deposits accumulate, water is retained, and appetite increases Are the most common side effects of exhausting exercise. Therefore, instead of a slender body, fitness addicts risk getting precisely the opposite result.

Due to overload and lack of rest, immunity worsens, and organs wear out faster. Another dangerous feature of sports addiction is that it can be easily replaced by chemical addiction. For example, an alcoholic. And in both cases, the body synthesizes almost the same hormones. And since our brains don’t feel much of a difference when switching to alternative sources of pleasure, the avid fitness fanatic can become addicted to drugs as well. In many ways, this explains the high percentage of drinkers and drug addicts among former athletes: in this way, they try to get the dose of neurotransmitters to which they are used. Conversely, most drug treatment programs include intense training to replace one addiction to another, less harmful.

Sports addiction also negatively affects personal relationships. Since physical activity becomes the basic need of a fitness addict, he gradually loses interest in the world around him and communication with people. Such a person skips any social activity: he does not hesitate to cancel romantic dates and scheduled meetings with friends for a couple of extra hours spent on the simulators. For the same reason, he may postpone essential tasks, not go to school or not complete work tasks in the allotted time. Thus, stagnation begins in all areas of his life, except fitness.

Photo: Luis Vidal / Unsplash

The main symptoms

It is important to distinguish real sports addiction from healthy fitness hobbies. For example, if you exercise primarily to maintain your health, there is no reason to worry. You should be wary if your main goal is the formation of an ideal figure that matches fashion trends. Fitness addicts spend a lot of time in front of a mirror, looking at the relief of their body. At the same time, they cannot refuse training – the very thought of skipping classes becomes unacceptable.

Another striking symptom: addicted to sports increase physical activity and their duration, even despite injuries, illnesses or doctor’s prohibitions. As a rule, they visit the gym every day and do the same exercises in a strictly planned manner.

The time allotted for physical exercise becomes of paramount importance for a person. It shapes his daily routine, and finances are now distributed so that they are enough to buy sports nutrition and maintain a diet. If a person or business meeting intersects with a workout, the fitness addict prefers the latter. Therefore, he lacks not only strength but also time for any other business, except for sports. Exhausting your body with intense exertion and low-calorie nutrition, a person becomes anxious and nervous. He is fixated on burning calories and does not stop exercising even after injury. If for some reason, a fitness addict cannot get into the gym, he withdraws into himself and begins to feel guilty.

Photo: Anastase Maragos / Unsplash

How to avoid addiction

If the training program is drawn up correctly, playing sports improves mood, improves metabolic processes, increases immunity, strengthens the skeleton, makes the body harmonious and enduring. Also, moderate physical activity protects us from various diseases – colds, diabetes, osteoporosis, disorders of the cardiovascular system. If a person abuses fitness, problems will only increase. Therefore, it is so important to listen to your feelings. If you become too intense and increase your workout volume by 10% weekly, start changing your thinking and behaviour. Experts advise to interrupt training and do something pleasant temporarily, and in the future – to limit the duration of classes in the gym and strictly adhere to this regulation.

According to psychologists, fitness addiction is usually formed against a background of various psychological problems. People often try to escape from reality with the help of sports. For example, from some disturbing thoughts, anxiety, longing, loneliness, low self-esteem, stagnant career, or an eating disorder. Try to figure out what training gives you – this will help you find a way out of the situation without violence against yourself. If you did not manage to cope with addiction on your own even after adjusting the program with a trainer, seek help from a psychotherapist.

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Guide

Foot pain: where it comes from and how to avoid it

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After summer tourist outings, foot pains can worsen in the fall. They usually receive little attention and most people are unaware of what problems they might signal. Understanding the issue before the season of uncomfortable office shoes.

Causes of pain in the foot

According to the Center for Hygienic Education of the Population of Rospotrebnadzor, among the diseases of the feet, flat feet occupies one of the leading positions [ 1 ]. In a healthy foot, the load is distributed between three support points: the back of the heel, the big toe plus the head of the metatarsal bone, and the outer edge of the foot. When the foot is deformed for one reason or another, there is an imbalance in the load, a change in the structure of the osteo-ligamentous apparatus. As a result, pain occurs, leading to the development of various diseases.

As for people who were not genetically predisposed to flat feet and did not develop it in their youth, noticeable changes begin to occur after 40 years. The body is no longer so resistant to excessive loads, including on the joints, hormonal changes occur, the wear and tear of the osteo-ligamentous apparatus increases, the risk of excess weight gain increases, which adversely affects the feet.

Photo: RunPhoto / Getty

With age, the articular and bone structures cannot fully perform their functions: walking and damping the load. Therefore, the causes of pain in a completely healthy person can be fatigue, prolonged physical activity, improperly selected shoes when playing sports.

Non-mechanical causes of pain in the foot include the presence of the following diseases: metabolic disorder, gout, diabetes mellitus, varicose veins [ 2 ] and other vascular diseases, post-traumatic changes (improperly treated leg subluxation, etc.).

Let’s consider the main situations associated with foot pain:

  • Burning foot and toe pads
  • Joint pain near the fingertips
  • Heel pain
  • Pain in the back of the foot
  • Pain on the outside of the foot
  • Pain over the heel
  • Ankle pain
  • Interdigital calluses and corns

Burning foot and toe pads

The reason, most likely, was uncomfortable shoes. The load is not properly distributed, causing the pads under the metatarsal bones to become inflamed and sore. You can relieve symptoms with a relaxing foot bath and light self-massage. But you need to see a doctor for treatment. Most likely, you will hear the diagnosis “Metatarsalgia”.

The joints in the area of ​​the fingertips hurt.

This symptom is characteristic of Morton’s neuroma [ 3 ]. The unpleasant sensations are associated with irritation of the nerve passing between the heads of the metatarsal bones of the third and fourth fingers.

At the initial stage of the disease, the pain may be mild, later it may be aggravated by a burning sensation, it will begin to “shoot through”, and the foot will be uncomfortable in almost any shoe with a closed nose.

Heel hurts

The most common cause is a bony build-up on the heel or heel spur. It occurs due to inflammation of the plantar fascia [ 4 ] due to mistakenly selected shoes and improper load distribution in them. The spur gives pain when the heel is loaded, which is why a person involuntarily throws the load on other parts of the foot. As a result, posture and balance are disturbed. The formation of a heel spur and the appearance of pain in it speaks of a chronic process. It is not worth postponing treatment.

The back of the foot

The cause of pain is the deformation of the metatarsal bone in the thumb and the development of bursitis. The bone itself does not hurt; the inflamed joint capsule causes unpleasant sensations. Due to the protruding bone, the shoes become tight and chafe, which leads to inflammation.

Fifth metatarsal bone (outer part of the foot)

Pain in this part of the foot indicates the development of a varus deformity [ 5 ] (fifth metatarsal bone). This is the so-called bump on foot next to the little finger. The most common cause of the development of this disorder is flat feet, clubfoot or a change in the shape of the legs (“legs with a wheel”). Due to excessive stress on the outer part, the fifth metatarsal flattened.

Pain over the heel (Achilles tendon pain)

The Achilles tendon is where it most often rubs the heel of the shoe. It is because of the frequent friction and excessive pressure that inflammation occurs. For treatment and prevention, it is recommended to choose the right shoes and protect this weak point by raising the heel higher (with an insole, a heel pad) so that the Achilles tendon does not experience pressure.

Ankle pain

The ankle performs a supporting function. Various subluxations and injuries (including improperly treated ones) can provoke inflammation of both the joint capsule and the ligamentous apparatus.

Photo: Sorrorwoot Chaiyawong / EyeEm / Getty

Interdigital calluses

The main reason for their occurrence is too narrow uncomfortable shoes. Better not to ignore this problem. You can cover up the callus with plaster; this will prevent mechanical damage to the skin. Still, the frequent wearing of uncomfortable shoes will entail more severe disorders in the structure of the foot and the proper functioning of the joints.

Corns

We should be alarmed by corns because they have a protective function. The body begins to defend itself and develops keratinization, hyperkeratosis occurs – coarsening of the skin of the feet.

Corns and calluses appear in those parts of the foot on which a large load falls. And if now there are no pain manifestations, there is a high risk of earning them. The pressure on the foot should be adjusted with orthopedic insoles, which can be worn with both sneakers and fashion shoes.

Foot pain treatment

The main advice is to be careful about your feet. If you notice corns, calluses, feel fatigue or burning, the body itself informs you that it needs rest and the load needs to be adjusted. It is also important to promptly respond to pain in the lower leg and knee joints. They often say that the pressure balance is imbalanced. At least an orthopedic examination and selection of individual insoles will help to return the situation to normal.

Do not sit cross-legged and avoid other non-physiological positions of the legs and feet that disrupt the work of the circulatory system.

In case of weight gain (including during pregnancy), wear orthopedic insoles. The foot is not prepared for sudden load increases and needs additional support.

Choose shoes for sports activities. It is essential to take into account the nature of the activity (running or exercising with equipment), as well as systematically change the sneakers since the shock absorbers in them wear out over time.

Reduce the time of wearing uncomfortable shoes: with narrow toes, high heels, flat soles. If uncomfortable shoes are a permanent part of your wardrobe, try to reduce the stress by choosing a comfortable pair for the afternoon.

Walk barefoot on sand, grass, ground. This can be called a natural massage of the reflexogenic points of the feet, due to which muscle tone rises and blood circulation improves.

Do self-massage. You can relieve fatigue and restore blood circulation using self-massage and rolling the feet on a roller (you can use a bottle from available tools).

Stretching: why is it needed and how to do it correctly

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To maintain health and beauty, it is enough to do the stretching complex a couple of times a week. We will tell you which exercises are the easiest and most useful to do.

  • Neck stretch
  • Stretching the legs
  • Stretching the buttocks
  • Back (spine) stretch
  • Stretching the arms and shoulders
  • Breast stretch
  • A set of exercises for stretching muscles
  • Stretching for beginners

Why stretch

There is a stereotype that exercises to increase muscle elasticity is the lot of athletes. They need to stretch after a workout to avoid stiffness and adapt to the stress. If in some types of yoga there are complex asanas that are not available for the entry-level, then stretching is a suitable practice for a person at any age, regardless of lifestyle and daily activity. Exercise helps [1] :

  1. Prevent muscle shortening.
  2. Improve elasticity, including ligaments and tendons.
  3. Get rid of muscle fatigue.
  4. Reduce the risk of injury.
  5. Improve flexibility and coordination.
  6. Make your posture beautiful and relieve back pain.
  7. Adapt to higher loads.

Plus stretching, in contrast to strength exercises for certain muscle groups, in variability and the absence of tension. It is necessary to improve elasticity in statics, without an increase in heart rate and sudden movements; therefore, most people without sports skills will cope with stretching [2].

How to stretch properly

You can do it barefoot, in sneakers or socks – whichever is more comfortable. Don’t try to do the exercise correctly right away. At first, the muscles will get used to it, and it is essential to maintain a pleasant feel. Stretching is safer and more effective when the muscles are warmed up. Before the exercises, it is better to do a short warm-up [3]: bend your knees, twist your arms at the elbows, make the body bend back and forth. Joint gymnastics takes about five to seven minutes, which can be replaced with a little cardio workout (running, walking).

To stretch the muscles well, you need to be in the chosen position from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on the sensations. It is convenient to use a timer with a signal to control the execution time. Try to keep static and then perform light, springy movements.

Neck stretch

Relieving tension in the neck has a positive effect on the upper body from the shoulders to the spine. Try tilting your head forward, backward, right, and left. To enhance the effect, place your hand on the back of your head and gently press towards the tilt. During the exercise, a slight tension should be felt on the side opposite to the tilt. To stretch the back of your neck, place one hand on your chin. The exercises can be done while standing or sitting.

Stretching the legs

This exercise can be done while lying or sitting. Bend your knees and place the ankle of one leg over the knee of the other. To deepen the pose and strengthen the stretch, you need to press the lower leg up on the free one. Exercise helps to increase the elasticity of the muscles in the back of the thigh.

Photo: self.com

To stretch the front of the thigh, pull the heel towards the buttock. You can perform the exercise lying or standing, so coordination of movements is additionally developed. Try not to move your torso while stretching and remember to repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Photo: self.com

The following exercise is performed while lying on your back and is suitable for completing the session. It allows you to relax and release tension while gently stretching your back to improve posture. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open and move closer to the floor. Keep them in this position for 30 seconds to two minutes.

Photo: self.com

Stretching the buttocks

Your glutes also need relaxation, especially if you’ve done squats. Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest with both hands. Do not lift your lower back off the floor. This position helps to stretch the buttocks and lower back well.

Photo: self.com

Back (spine) stretch

Lie on your stomach with your legs extended straight. Rise up on your elbows. Press your hips to the floor with your shoulders relaxed. Sit down to feel the stretch in your lower back. In this exercise, it is important not to overextend your lower back and stop immediately if you feel discomfort or pain.

Photo: self.com

A variation of the popular dog pose can be performed both standing and kneeling. Stretch your arms forward and push your hips up and towards your heels. Gradually move your palms to one side and hips to the other to feel the stretch, but avoid pinching in the spine.

Photo: self.com

Stretching the arms and shoulders

The triceps stretch is essential even if you aren’t doing push-ups or lifting weights. This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the back of the arm to maintain its shape. It can be done while standing or kneeling. Keep your feet hip-width apart and extend your arms over your head. Bend your elbow and touch your upper back. With your free hand, pull your bent elbow down and towards your head.

Photo: self.com

The shoulders withstand a high daily load, especially with a sedentary lifestyle. Posture, gait, proper blood circulation and back health depend on the health of these muscles. Shoulder exercises can be performed while standing, sitting, or lying down depending on the desired intensity and circumstances.

Breast stretch

Exercise allows you to relieve muscle tension after wide grip push-ups quickly. Lie on your stomach and stretch your arms out to the sides in a T-shape. Push off the floor with your left hand and bend your left knee for balance as you begin to twist to the right. You should feel a stretch in your right pectoralis muscle.

Photo: self.com

A set of stretching exercises

You can alternately stretch each muscle group, or try more complex exercises that involve multiple body parts at once. For example, a stretch called a pretzel. It helps to work out the calf and gluteal muscles, as well as the spine and hip flexors.

Lie on your left side with your hand under your head. Bend your right knee and press your hip against your chest as much as possible, and then let it fall to the floor. Then bend your left knee and take your left foot (use the strap if you can’t reach it) with your right hand. Be sure to keep your leg and torso in a straight line as you gently bring your upper shoulder blade to the floor. To reinforce the twist, turn your head to look over your shoulder.

Photo: self.com

Stretching for beginners

The exercises described are available to most people. Even if for now, you can only do them at half the amplitude, this will be enough for a positive effect. Gradually, the muscles will get used to the load and become more pliable and soft. After a few days, you will notice that it has become easier to stay in the original adjusted position, which means that you can deepen the stretch. If you’re a beginner, try starting with the simplest:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and relax your knees and hips. Interlace your fingers and extend your arms over your head, palms up. Take ten deep, slow breaths. Relax and repeat.
  2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees. Keeping your hands on your lower back, bend forward, slightly protruding your tailbone back; feel a stretch in your lower back. Take your shoulders away from your head. In this position, take ten deep breaths.
  3. Get on all fours with your palms on the floor just below your shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles, arch your back, and lower your head so that you face your stomach. Hold for ten seconds, breathe deeply. Now lower your back while raising your head. Remain in this position for another ten seconds, also taking deep breaths in and out. Repeat the complex four times.

Sudden movements can lead to injury, so it’s important to do flexibility exercises without fuss. Look for complexes for the whole body or target specific muscle groups that require special attention. During the exercise, there should be no sharp pain, pinching and cramps.

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Exercise, proper nutrition, meditation: the professor is about what the brain needs

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How meditation practices affect the brain, as well as fast food, cookies and croissants, RBC Style found out in a conversation with Alexey Danilov, MD.
Since the early 2010s, neurobiology has become one of the most popular areas of scientific non-fiction. Biohackers were mainly interested in studying the influence of life factors on age and brain functioning ten years ago. Today, more and more people are thinking about this, who would like to work more efficiently, feel better and enjoy life. Which of this is included in our control area – we figure it out together with an expert.
What happens to the brain as the body ages?
The brain, like the entire body, prepares itself for aging. The process of pruning (reduction in the number of nerve cells) begins from the moment of our birth and lasts throughout our life – new nerve cells always die off, only functioning ones remain. Accordingly, if a person trains certain functions – memory, concentration, attention switching, speech, motor activity – nerve cells are active in these areas of the brain, and new connections between neurons are formed.
If a person does not use any of the brain functions, then the cells responsible for this activity die faster. Also, due to ageing of the whole organism, oxidative stress, exposure to several unfavourable environmental factors, pathological changes can occur in the brain – heavy metals and pathological proteins are deposited, which contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. If there is a genetic predisposition, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease; someone develops Parkinson’s disease.
How does the physical or intellectual type of human activity affect the state of the brain?


It used to be believed that a person who wants to achieve the highest results in intellectual work needs to do only this type of activity. However, only those who combine mental stress with physical activity can achieve the best results. This, in general, has been proven for a long time. Both Oxford and Cambridge universities host rowing and swimming competitions. In all respectable universities, sports are in the first place, in the second – fundamental sciences. Today it is scientifically proven that it is the combination of physical and intellectual activity that increases mental performance, improves the connecting functions of the brain. The remarkable Soviet chess player Anatoly Karpov said that tennis is chess on the grass. He played tennis for two hours a day and chess for several hours. This is a golden duo.

Photo: Shutterstock

Nutrition is also essential for useful brain function. There are phrases such as “food for the mind”, “smart food”. It has a foundation. Moreover, what is good for the brain is good for the heart, skin, and the whole organism. If we keep our brain functions in order, we will improve the functioning of the entire body, as the brain regulates the activity of other organs and systems.

What foods are suitable for the brain?
Blueberries, spinach, nuts, sustainably grown vegetables and fruits, fish. For example, Norwegian salmon, wild fish. Now, like thousands of years ago, you need to “hunt” for good food, get it. Cheap foods are toxic, filled with pesticides and nitrates. Even if the level does not exceed the acceptable standards, this does not mean that these products are safe.

When we take accelerated greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants, we are balancing benefit and benefit. The toxic substances they contain do not cause acute poisoning, but in the end, the systematic use of such food after several years disrupts the brain. As a rule of thumb, eat local, organic and seasonal. It will be good for the mind as well as the heart, intestines and skin.

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The peculiarity of these products is that they are cooked with trans fats. And the brain is 40% fat. The myelin sheath, which covers neurons, is surrounded by phospholipids (complex compounds of alcohols and fatty acids). This fatty membrane is responsible for the speed of the impulses. And when we replace good natural fats with trans fats, a malfunction occurs, the conducting nervous system “sparks”. Because of this, we neurologists don’t like trans fats. But they are also not very good for the heart and disrupt the work of the gastrointestinal tract, metabolic processes.

Nothing happens after eating junk food once. But when it turns into a whole food system, after a while small changes occur – increased fatigue appears, the concentration of attention is lost. And then, with the addition of other stress factors, this can cause a more severe failure, including in the activity of the cardiovascular and endocrine systems.

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But what about sweets such as store cookies, croissants that have a long shelf life?
The less perishable the product, the more additives it contains, which increase the load on the detoxification organs, aggravate the functioning of the immune system and sooner or later cause it to malfunction. The more refined the product, the cheaper it is, the more dangerous it is. And there is a paradox here. In the past, refined sugar and flour were considered more valuable foods. Today, for some reason, white bread is cheaper than whole grain bread made from wholemeal flour. These are some commercial games. But in fact, less refined foods have more nutritional value. Some cereals can be cooked in half a minute, but it is better to take common buckwheat and cook it for 20-30 minutes: its nutritional value will be higher than that of innovative instant products.

Is refined sugar bad for the brain?
Our brain needs glucose. But it is found not only in sugar, but it is also found in bread and pasta. There is no need to switch to sugar substitutes; they have an even more damaging effect. In general, you need to be careful with sugar. It is a trigger element for several diseases at once – stroke, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes mellitus, obesity. If a person has high physical activity two to three hours a day, he has the right to sweet tea. If you don’t get enough physical activity, you need to moderate your appetites for sugar.

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What medications and techniques are currently available that can promote clarity of thought in old age?
In the field of psychopharmacology, even in Soviet times, some drugs improve brain function. The soldiers were given Sydnokarb. Now there is Phenibut and others. Bayer has preparations with guarana. In principle, for useful brain function, we need the right food, omega-3, B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc and selenium: they are involved in all biochemical processes of the body, are adaptogens, improve brain function in stressful situations, including increase performance concentration and memory.

And what about coffee and tea?
Brain stimulants like coffee or tea are good in moderation. One or two cups of coffee a day, if there is no intolerance, will give you strength and improve your mood. But if you drink seven or ten cups, the effect will not be as much better. Travellers always stopped at Gogol and other classic writers to feed the horses or give them a rest. The brain needs breaks too. The best thing for the brain – mostly after we have worked intensively mentally – is to change the type of activity, take a break, take a walk. Eight hours of work, with four 15-minute intervals, will be more productive than ten hours of continuous work sitting at a desk. Short breaks every 25-45 minutes become a brain stimulant. There are time management systems.
In terms of technology, there are brain trainers to improve mental performance. For example, “Wikium” is a simulator that allows you to individually measure various types of brain activity – concentration, reaction speed, memory – and train exactly those functions that you want to improve.
There are also old ways – memorizing poems, singing and playing musical instruments. Music-making, choral singing are great ways to improve interhemispheric interaction, relieve stress and develop the brain.

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There are also remarkable technologies of adaptive biofeedback, which were previously called biofeedback. This is similar to meditation and allows you to enter the alpha and theta rhythms of the brain, into a state of trance. Only during meditation, we cannot understand how deeply we have entered this state, but here, with the help of technology, we observe the result in the form of a diagram or animation.

For example, we see flowers, and if we enter the alpha rhythm, the flower blooms, and if we fail, the flower shrivels. Thanks to feedback, you can train your brain and enter the functional state we need. This allows for better stress management. At the Institute for Interdisciplinary Medicine, we train office workers to increase productivity and build stress resilience using bio-management technologies.

What is the practical application of these technologies?
We offer this kind of brain fitness for business companies, when employees need to be prepared for a stressful situation, difficult negotiations, brainstorms to increase their productivity. First, they learn with the help of feedback on the monitor. Then they can reach the required state without additional tools, just by the power of thought, like Fandorin with Boris Akunin, who was entering a country of increased productivity. This is achievable today. At the same time, it reduces the incidence of sickness among employees and strengthens their immune system.

So the benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven?
Yes, there has been researching on how meditation affects the brain. The Dalai Lama brought his monks to a research university in the United States. It turned out that during meditation, certain parts of the brain are activated – in particular, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for the state of awareness. Indeed, these monks exhibited a specific neurophysiological pattern of brain activity. But interestingly, when the same studies were carried out on ordinary students, not Buddhist monks, it turned out that they, too, after a few weeks of training, showed a tendency to such changes. That is, regular meditation can improve brain function. There are several international scientific publications on this topic; today, this area is very popular.
The only limitation is the willingness of the person himself. Some people love simple things like yoga and meditation. After all, this is the best, free and not troublesome way. It only requires self-discipline. For the lazier, there are adaptive biocontrol technologies, where we achieve the same effect, but with a lesser degree of self-discipline.

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And which of the Russian scientists is studying the influence of yoga and meditation on the brain?

Academician Shtark Mark Borisovich has been studying adaptive control technologies in Novosibirsk for a very long time. Now he has developed a biofeedback system based on functional MRI that helps doctors see the connection between the frontal lobe and the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for anxiety, on live television. When we see this connection, we can calm down, relieve anxiety by trying different ways to relax. This is a unique development of an international format. With Mark Borisovich, we are planning a series of experiments related to meditation practices.

Doctor Sergei Agapkin is also involved in this topic. He founded the renowned Institute of Traditional Health Systems, which trains specialists in yoga therapy for rehabilitation. This area, I think, will gain in popularity.

Your area of ​​interest is also neuroaesthetics (the science of how works of art and beauty affect the brain). Tell us about research in this area.

Dostoevsky said that beauty would save the world. Today it is scientifically proven. When we are in a beautiful environment, we feel better. Our brain rejoices when we see and hear something beautiful. Curiously, we can discover something beautiful, for example, in areas such as mathematics. Some formulas can be overwhelming. They experimented: mathematicians were shown two recipes, and they preferred one of them because when reading it, the brain synthesized endorphins. Some factors affect us regardless of the level of training: sound vibrations, nature. But more complex things, such as mathematics, classical music or works of art, affect prepared people. Therefore, it makes sense from childhood to become familiar with culture and art. Some are addicted to alcohol, smoking, drugs, while others are looking for more long-term and exciting ways to get pleasure, such as art. And they find themselves in an undeniable gain.

The ideas of neuroaesthetics are being embodied in architecture today. Abroad, it is called salutogenic design or healthy design. Now our Institute of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Moscow State University of Civil Engineering are developing new construction standards. Until now, SNiPs (building codes and rules. – “RBK Style” ) have been aimed at ensuring that the person in the building does not die or get sick. The new architecture does not just care about safety but sets the task of improving human functioning in the created environment.

To solve it, environment-improving technologies are being developed, for example, biodynamic lighting, which completely copies the rhythm of the solar spectrum during the day. We get a cold blue spectrum in the morning; it stimulates mental activity. In the evening, we get warm yellow, which allows the brain to relax. It is a natural way to improve the health of the neuroimmune system and increase productivity.

A Russian company has developed lighting systems for offices and public spaces that combine biodynamic lighting with ultraviolet radiation to decontaminate a room. Salutogenic design is a transdisciplinary field aimed at changing space so that people do not go to health clinics and gyms, but can strengthen their bodies every day in the workplace and at home.

All people face the problem of headaches. What can you recommend?

First of all, you need to understand that a headache is not an annoying misunderstanding that prevents you from doing work, but a friendly signal. He tells us that we should listen to our body and understand what is wrong with it. The causes of headache can be a different – unhealthy diet, food intolerance, stress, jet lag. Also, the cause of the headache can be a psychological conflict. When a person understands what this impulse means and not only dulls the pain but eliminates its cause, he solves the problem. Unfortunately, many people suppress their headaches with drugs. For the time being, the head does not hurt, but then other diseases pop up. Therefore, we need to listen carefully to the signals of our body and give it what it asks for.

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Gym Rules: What You Need To Know About Fitness Club Etiquette

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We tell you how it is comfortable to go in for sports without harming yourself and others.
Most fitness centres offer a guest visit service before purchasing a subscription: the administrator or coach shows guests where the locker room is, what equipment are available and how to use them correctly, who should leave the pass and keys to the locker. If it is not possible to practice in a trial lesson, and all visits are paid, do not rush to take an annual subscription. Otherwise, you may not like the coaching staff, the number of simulators or the overcrowding of the gym, and the money will not be returned. To begin with, it is better to learn the basic rules and, if possible, buy a one-time pass to assess the situation.

But in addition to the rules of a particular gym, there is also an unspoken etiquette, the knowledge of which will help you feel more confident and better prepare for a new sports life.

  • Ask questions
  • Put things back in place
  • Pay attention to others
  • Pay no attention to others
  • Wear an antiseptic and a towel
  • Be careful with photos
  • Respect personal space
  • Free up equipment when not exercising

Ask questions

Don’t miss the introductory safety briefing. Even if you have visited the gym before, it is worth listening to the possible risks, especially if you plan to work out on simulators. As a rule, introductory information is given briefly, and it is not always possible to remember and understand all the features of the operation of special equipment. Therefore, ask clarifying questions, ask again and return to the discussion in subsequent times if doubts remain. Feel free to communicate with both the staff and the visitors to the sports club. But keep in mind that weight training requires a focus on the process. No need to distract your neighbour on the simulator with small talk when he lifts the barbell, or reach with your hand over his head for dumbbells. Just check how soon he will release the equipment.

Put things back in place.

Sports equipment, from rugs to kettlebells, has a place. The staff keeps order, but with a large number of visitors, it is challenging to keep the hall in perfect condition. Remember to return items to where they were taken from. The exception is interval or circuit training when you need to return to work with weight after the next round of exercises.

Photo: Unsplash

In this case, put the equipment next to you, but so that it does not interfere with other athletes. In any case, you must put it back in place when the lesson is over. The same goes for adjusting the difficulty and weight of the machines. After exercising, return to neutral settings and remove excess discs from the bar.

Pay attention to others.

It’s not about dreams of a perfect press “like that blonde’s”, but about safety. In a gym, injuries cannot be avoided if visitors do not take care of each other. When doing dumbbell exercises, make sure not to hit another person. A fitness club is a community of people united by a common idea. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask for help and help yourself if someone contacted you.

Pay no attention to others.

Contradiction? We don’t think so. Giving unsolicited advice about exercise technique is not worth it. An exception is when you see that improper use of the machine can lead to injury.

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As much as you want to view other visitors for motivation or clothing choices, try not to do so openly and intrusively. Most people come to study, and not to show themselves, excessive attention will be unpleasant for them.

Wear an antiseptic and a towel

Studies have shown that the surface of sports equipment and equipment is covered with bacteria and microbes [1]. Viruses prefer non-porous surfaces such as steel weights. Therefore, both before and after using exercise equipment, benches and equipment, they should be treated with a disinfectant spray and wiped off with a dry towel. So you will protect both yourself and other visitors, because colds are transmitted during the incubation period, even in the absence of severe symptoms.

Be careful with photos.

Gym selfies are popular content on Instagram and other social media. It’s an excellent way to track progress, record progress, surprise you with willpower, and let the world know that you prefer a healthy lifestyle. The main thing is not to disturb others. The same rules apply here as when photographing in a public place. 

Photo: Unsplash

Try to take pictures in front of the mirror in the gym or dressing room on minimal busy days. Even if it seems to you that only you were in the frame, check if there is someone else in the background. It is unlikely that another person wants to be on public display with a red face and sweat spots during training.

Respect personal space

If you feel like sitting on a bench in the dressing room, make sure there is enough space, so you don’t end up close to another visitor. The same goes for exercising on a rug in the gym: try to stay at a safe distance from other athletes. If you need to talk on the phone or you came to the gym with a friend, communicate in a way that does not disturb others. This rule also applies to music: you need motivation and the right soundtracks for strength training – plug in your headphones.

Free up equipment when not exercising

If you’ve finished a cycle of exercises and decided to distract yourself with the news feed on your phone, free up the simulator. When you take dumbbells, move away from the rack with them, without blocking the approach for others. 

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Much depends on the time of day and the number of people in the hall. When it is empty, you can allow yourself to relax where it is convenient. But if there are a lot of people, you should not delay them, even if there is no visible queue for equipment. Exercising and not using machines is one of the most annoying gym habits.

#pronscience: 7 reasons why drastic weight loss is dangerous

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If you want to become slimmer, don’t rush things. Sometimes quickly lost kilograms come back even faster and in double the volume. We tell why science and doctors oppose express weight loss.

Even the most gentle diet can have undesirable consequences. And yet, many, wanting to see the changes as soon as possible, are ready to go for the most severe restrictions on food. After all, when only a few weeks are left before an important event, the most important thing is the result. Even if the chosen diet is contrary to common sense. According to nutritionists, a safe rate for weight loss is up to 1 kg per week. If you lose more, serious complications can arise. We list the reasons that make such experiments hazardous to health.

Reason number 1. Decreased immunity

Diets that are high in calorie deficiencies and exclude essential nutrients from the diet increase our susceptibility to infectious disease. Including the coronavirus, nutritionists warn. With this diet, the amount of vitamins and minerals entering the body sharply decreases. This not only weakens the immune system but also reduces life expectancy, found researchers from Stanford. When a person begins to follow a strict diet, his body is exposed to severe stress. As a result, the concentration of cortisol in the blood rises, a hormone that suppresses the natural inflammatory responses to viruses and bacteria. According to experts from the University of Pennsylvania, another unpleasant consequence stress – increased cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods.

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Reason # 2. Failure of the reproductive system

Fans of express diets are faced with malfunctions of the reproductive system. Especially if you combine dietary restrictions with gruelling workouts, in women, menstrual irregularities can be caused by a deficiency of essential fatty acids omega-3 or vitamin D – these substances are responsible for the production of female sex hormones. But to get carried away with fibre during diets, on the contrary, is not worth it. American scientists have proven that excess dietary fibre lowers estrogen levels, which regulates the menstrual cycle. If you lean on fiber, the risk of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) increases tenfold. At the same time, the dietary fiber contained in vegetables and fruits has the most significant influence on the work of the reproductive system. Another factor that can disrupt your menstrual cycle is high levels of the cortisol, as mentioned above.

Reason # 3. Mood swings

Sudden weight loss can severely damage the nervous system. Any extreme diet leads to nutritional deficiencies and imbalances in certain hormones: serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, cortisol, and leptin. Because of this, a losing weight person has frequent mood swings. He becomes nervous and irritable. And the endocrine changes that accompany dramatic weight loss can cause depression and anxiety. Researchers at Harvard Medical School made this conclusion. According to them, estrogen and oxytocin help manage stress. Conversely, low levels of these hormones increase anxiety and cause worrying thoughts. Also, due to the lack of calories during express diets, the body begins to save resources: we become less active and concentrate worse.

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Reason # 4. Loose skin and wrinkles

Many fast diets provide weight loss by removing fluid from the body. Potential consequences include headaches, increased fatigue, dehydration, and nerve cell death. Also, due to lack of water, swelling appears, tissues lose elasticity, skin becomes dry, nails – brittle, hair – dull and weak. Again, the weight that was lost due to the loss of water, as a rule, quickly returns. If a person loses several tens of kilograms in a short time, his skin does not have time to respond to changes and sags, and wrinkles become more pronounced.

Another component of beauty and health is fat. At the same time, most extreme diets involve a sharp decrease in their consumption or complete exclusion from the diet.

Reason number 5. Decreased muscle tone

One of the unpleasant results of a calorie deficit is a slowdown in metabolic processes, including fat burning. Thus, the body seeks to conserve every incoming calorie and compensate for energy costs. As a result, not only the “plateau effect” occurs (when the weight freezes at one point), but the synthesis of new muscle fibres also slows down. Also, a sharp reduction in incoming calories forces the body to look for alternative sources of energy. Muscles become one of these: they “burn” much more actively than fatty tissue. The fact is that during stressful diets, the main task of the body becomes survival, and the muscles for it are extra ballast that consumes too many calories. Therefore, it “eats” the muscles and triggers lipogenesis – the process of fat storage for a rainy day.

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Reason # 6. Accumulation of fat

The body will continue to increase the amount of adipose tissue – reserve energy reserves, even returning to the usual diet. That is why, after gruelling diets, it can be so challenging to maintain the results: the weight almost always returns to the original or becomes even more. The stress hormone cortisol also contributes to the formation of adipose tissue. This has been proven scientists from Stanford University. An experiment conducted by a group of biologists led by Mary Teruel showed that mammals with elevated cortisol levels had twice the weight gain compared to controls. Teruel says this happened not only due to the synthesis of new fat cells but also due to the growth of existing ones. Also, with express diets, the production of hormones that regulate appetite is disrupted.

Reason # 7. Gallstones

Lack of adequate nutrition can cause various disturbances in the work of the gastrointestinal tract – bloating, constipation, slowing down of digestion, gastritis, ulcers. The consequences can be even direr if the low-calorie diet is accompanied by laxatives, fat burners, or special stimulants that suppress hunger. Most of these drugs deplete the body’s resources and negatively affect the central nervous system. Also, rapid weight loss increases the likelihood of developing gallstones. During fat burning, the liver secretes cholesterol into bile. If its concentration becomes too high, bile crystallizes and turns into stones. Such risks are subject to all dieters who lose more than 1.5 kg per week.

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Guide

Workout for men over 40

Workout for men over 40

Age is just a number that still rings true to you, and you are more motivated than ever to return to the gym and turn your flabby father body into a chiseled work of art.

There is no better feeling than knowing that your body is the envy of others.

By the time you turn forty, you may have found that recovery between workouts takes a little longer, and your strength may not be quite what it should be.

This muscle workout for men over 40 is not like an indulgent program. It’s a rich mix of intense strength and muscle workouts, but what matters is the fact that you are no longer twenty.

Muscle protein synthesis decreases with age.

One of the changes you may notice when you hit the 40 marks is getting a little harder to build muscle.

As you age, your muscle protein synthesis (MPS) turnover decreases. It refers to the rate at which your body can build new muscle cells.

Maximum protein synthesis is essential if you are lifting weights regularly.

You can’t build muscle without muscle cells.

If the speed at which you destroy existing muscle cells is higher than the rate at which you build new ones, you will soon wonder why there is no progress.

Muscle protein synthesis is the driving force behind the adaptive response to exercise. An increase in MPS, combined with a proper strength training program, means an increase in muscle mass.

And this is what we are striving for.

The problem, however, is that MPS rates naturally decrease with age.

What does it mean?

You may find it more challenging to build muscle mass since your physiology is not as “prepared” as it used to be.

The response to strength training is diminished compared to younger men, and the kinases responsible for the immediate increase in MPS ( mTOR, 4EBP1, and p70s6K for those of you hungry for some science) are dying.

So goodbye, muscle mass?

Of course not.

The good news is that with a two-layer approach to diet and workout, you can quickly accelerate MPS and build muscle without any problems.

It all depends on how competently you plan your muscle building.

Workout for men over 40

Support muscle growth with increased protein intake

Regardless of age, protein is essential for muscle growth.

This does not mean that you should get whey supplements on speed dial. It just means that you need to hit certain thresholds to increase your MPS level.

To get your protein synthesis up to the point where you can build muscle after age 40, you will need to slightly adjust your protein intake.

Here’s what you should aim for:

20-40 years old – 1.4-2 g of protein per 1 kg. body weight

40-65 years old – 1.8-2.4 g of protein 1 kg. body weight

Sixty-five years and older – 2.6-3 g of protein per 1 kg. body weight

As you can see, it doesn’t make much of a difference, and it’s achievable without supplementation, but it’s worth dieting if muscle mass is your goal.

Train competently and build more muscle

Nobody ever said that muscle training for men over 40 was impossible. The opposite is true.

Many bodybuilding champions are in their 40s, and it takes time, experience, and wisdom to develop a strong and muscular physique.

Whether you’re a healthy guy who takes pride in the way he looks and wants to focus on some muscle mass or an overweight man who wants to make a difference in his life and make some real changes, this is how you need to approach strength training.

Here are the critical muscle training points for men over 40:

Focus on all muscle groups

It makes no sense to train one muscle to destruction using split training. Train with an emphasis on difficult lifts.

Technology comes first

Practice this. Improve it. Love it. No matter how fresh and young you feel, strength training increases your risk of injury as you age.

Challenge your body, but never train with pain. If it hurts, don’t do it.

Don’t miss a warm-up.

Prepare your body, lubricate all joints, and warm up your muscles before you do your first set.

Vary your rep range

Focusing on lifting heavy weights but accumulated fatigue over time can have a negative impact—plan for periods of lighter weights and higher rep ranges.

Rest when you need to

If something seems overwhelming, then automatically adjust your workouts and, if necessary, take a few days off.

Muscle training program for men over 40

For the first five weeks, you will do three sessions per week, emphasizing all major muscles.

Aim for three sets of 8-12 reps per exercise, with a 2-3 minute rest between sets.

To optimize recovery while stimulating muscle growth, you will shift from push to deadlift and upper body to lower body—complete 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next.

Do it right, and you might even feel the cardio effect!

In the second week, you will do the same exercises, but with a change in order and intensity. This time you will be connecting two lifts.

This is commonly known as the super setting.

When your workout supplements, you increase your calorie burn, make your workout more efficient, and build muscle in the process.

Do one set of exercises number one, and then go directly to exercise number two. When you have done this, rest for a minute or two and then repeat. Continue until all three ” supersets ” have been completed.

Then move on to the next two exercises.

This is a pretty brutal training approach. But if you want results, this is the way forward.

1 day

Army press

Alternating lifting of dumbbells in front of you

They are raising hands with dumbbells to the sides.

2 day

Leg press

Squat

Extension of the legs in the simulator

Day 3

Exercise Pullover

Row of the upper block to the chest

Straight Grip Row

Day 4

Leg curl on the simulator

Dumbbell Rise

Calf Raises

Day 5

Dips on the uneven bars

Isolated side dumbbell raises

Seated dumbbell press

6 day

Dumbbell Squats

Goblet squats

Barbell lunges

Day 7

Dumbbell curls

French press

Biceps curl with support under the elbow.

How to play sports without harm to health: 5 rules

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What kind of workouts destroy health, and which ones help to strengthen it? Which sport to choose and how often to do it? Is it possible to play sports for those who have heart problems? Dealing with an expert.

Exercise, not professional sports

You can often hear that doctors do not recommend doing professional sports, but physical education. What is the difference between these concepts?

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There is no universally accepted medical definition of the term “sport” that distinguishes it from other physical activity types. When doctors talk about the benefits of physical education as opposed to sports, they usually mean “high-performance sports” and professional sports, and not sports in the broad sense of the word, which, on the contrary, is suitable for the cardiovascular system.
The concept of “athlete” can draw a more precise boundary: according to the definition of the European Society of Cardiology, it is a young or adult person, amateur or professional, who regularly trains and participates in official sports competitions. Elite athletes (members of national teams, Olympians, professional athletes) engage in physical activity for more than ten hours a week; athletes in competitive sports (for example, athletes from school, university teams) – more than six hours a week; athletes – four hours a week.

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Many scientists associate professional sports with harm to health: the cardiovascular system is exposed to peak loads that can harm the body. For example, a study by the American College of Cardiology showed that atrial fibrillation (atrial fibrillation) was 5.5 times more common in former American National Football League players than in the general population. A pacemaker was implanted ten times more often.

Engage in physical activity safely.

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General safety principles should be considered when doing physical activity.

First, make sure that the selected physical activity is safe for almost everyone. In other words, it does not require special education or training to complete it.

Second, choose the type and amount of physical activity that suits your fitness level. Do not set records right away.

Third, build up your physical activity gradually: start with relatively moderate intensity and avoid strenuous activities (such as running). Give your body a chance to get used to moderate physical activity: first, increase the duration of each workout in minutes and the number of days per week, and only then – the intensity.

Fourth,  pay attention to the weekly increase in physical activity. Thus, a weekly 20-minute increase is considered safe for a person who joggers 200 minutes a week – this corresponds to an increase of 10%. The same 20 minutes will not be safe for a person with a primary activity of 40 minutes.

Count your heart rate periodically as you exercise and keep your heart rate (HR) between 50 and 85% of your maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus age. For example, if you are 45 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220 – 45, 175 beats per minute.

At the beginning of training and during the first few weeks of training, you need to give such a load at which the heart rate would be 50% of the maximum, then you can gradually increase to 75% of the maximum heart rate, after six months or more you can bring the indicator to 85%.

Finally, take the necessary precautions. For example, in hot and humid weather, an exercise in the morning rather than in the midday heat to reduce stress on the heart and the risk of dehydration (excess fluid loss), prefer indoor activities, consider changing the type of activity (for example, go swimming instead of playing football ), reduce the intensity of your physical activity (walking instead of running), get enough rest, spend more time in the shade, drink more fluids, and look for other ways to minimize your exposure to heat.

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Choose the right types of exercise.

There are two basic types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. What is the difference, and which one is safer for the heart?

Anaerobic activity is a short-term, high-intensity physical activity. Experts identify three levels of anaerobic exercise:

1) maximum anaerobic power, which corresponds to the full possible human power (up to 15-20 sec);

2) close to the full anaerobic power (up to 20-45 sec);

3) submaximal anaerobic power (up to 45-120 sec.): Running for short distances, jumping rope, lifting weights.

Aerobic activity is a type of physical activity in which a rhythmic muscle contraction is carried out for a long time. Aerobic activity is divided into five levels according to their possible duration:

1) exercise for maximum aerobic power (3-10 minutes);

2) close to maximum (10-30 minutes);

3) submaximal (30-80 minutes);

4) medium (80-120 minutes);

5) low aerobic capacity (more than two hours).

You should not choose one type of activity for yourself. To achieve balance and reduce possible harm to the heart, physical activity should be distributed as follows: 50% (4-7 days a week) – aerobic activity, 25% (2-4 days a week) – anaerobic activity, the remaining 25% – exercises that strengthen muscles.

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Exercise every day

Experts recommend healthy adults engage in moderate-intensity physical activity from 150 minutes per week with a gradual increase to 300 minutes (five hours) per week. Alternatively, experts suggest engaging in vigorous aerobic activity for 75 minutes to 150 minutes per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity.

You need to do at least four days a week. Do not forget about the activity necessary for the body that strengthens the muscles: such exercises should be practiced from two days a week (for example, lifting weights, push-ups, pull-ups, exercises with an expander, climbing in enclosed spaces, tug-of-war).

You can focus on the list of loads corresponding to 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity of moderate intensity, as well as movement to strengthen muscles:

  • 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week plus exercise with an expander two days a week;
  • 25 minutes of jogging three days a week plus weight lifting twice a week;
  • 30 minutes brisk walking two days a week plus 60 minutes dancing one night a week, mowing the lawn one day a week, hard gardening two days a week;
  • Thirty minutes of aerobics one morning a week, 30 minutes of running once a week plus 30 minutes of brisk walking once a week, and squats, push-ups three days a week.
  • 45 minutes of doubles tennis twice a week, lifting weights once a week, hiking, or rock climbing once a week.

Many daily activities play the role of physical activity, and the load on the body during intercourse is equivalent to 3-5 METs, which corresponds to climbing two flights of stairs at a fast pace.

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Learn about possible activities for diseases of the cardiovascular system

Contrary to popular belief, physical activity for people with cardiovascular diseases is not only contraindicated but highly desirable.

For example, experts believe that for patients with angina pectoris (angina pectoris), physical education is permissible even with a high risk of complications – provided that the load is below the threshold for the development of an attack of angina pectoris and ischemic changes. Of the restrictions – only a recommendation not to engage in competitive sports (the exception is golf). For patients with angina pectoris, moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking) is recommended for 30 minutes to 60 minutes more than five days a week. However, even irregular physical activity can be beneficial in reducing the risk of death.

For people who have had a myocardial infarction, physical activity is essential: an early return to rehabilitative physical activity is necessary as early as 8-12 weeks after the event. To select the optimal physical activity, it is necessary to assess the risk based on physical activity level in the anamnesis and stress test results. In general, the target moderate-intensity exercise for this population is 30 minutes, seven days a week (at least five days a week). Aerobic physical activity of moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes is recommended, preferably daily. 30-60 minutes of daily physical activity can be spread over two to three sets. Immediately after discharge, daily walking is recommended.

In patients with chronic heart failure, physical activity should begin with a short phase of 10 minutes of endurance exercise and 10 minutes of resistance exercise (e.g., dumbbells). These exercises should be gradually increased over four months until reaching 30-45 minutes, three or more times a week. Depending on the symptoms and functionality, the duration of intense activity may be longer.

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