Physical exercise has many advantages for physical, mental and social health. It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age and condition. Playing sports can also help prevent cancer, and improve mood and quality of life in people who have been diagnosed with an oncological disease. This article reviews the benefits of exercise.

What is exercise?
Sport is one of the most positively impacting activities to protect health and prevent disease. The benefits of physical exercise are numerous and varied, and its relationship to physical, mental and social health is well established.

Before getting into the subject, it is important to distinguish physical activity from physical exercise. Physical activity is any type of movement a person makes (such as carrying a shopping bag). Physical exercise is a movement carried out within the framework of a more or less structured programme, for a certain period of time, with a certain technique and which pursues certain objectives (such as swimming in 25 swimming pools).

What are the advantages of doing sport?

  • Advantages of doing sport – Cancer PsychologyTonifies the muscles and maintains the proper functioning of tendons and joints.
  • It regulates the heart rate and helps the heart work more efficiently (pump blood correctly with fewer beats).
  • Lowers cholesterol and keeps arteries clean and flexible (prevents arteriosclerosis). Therefore, blood can circulate more and faster when the body needs it.
  • It reduces high blood pressure.
  • Sport also improves respiratory function and oxygenation of the brain.
  • It regulates excess weight and increases the burning of calories. That is why it prevents obesity and, consequently, the risk of having type II diabetes.
  • It contributes to eliminate toxins from the organism. This makes it a protection factor against cancer.
  • It helps to have more energy to face the activities of the daily life.
  • Reduces the impact of stress on physical and psychological health.
  • Helps to be more relaxed and sleep better (especially if practiced towards the middle of the day: midday or early afternoon).
  • Facilitates social relationships and conflict resolution, especially team sports. Among the values in which sports such as football are educated are social inclusion and cooperation.
  • It maintains a positive state of mind due to the effect of endorphins. Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Increases defenses against numerous diseases.
  • All of this contributes to longer life expectancy.
  • Etc…

The exercise has different forms and intensities, and each person can find the one that suits their priorities: Losing weight, increasing muscle tone, improving cardiovascular function, recovering mobility, etc. In general, 30 minutes a day of moderate physical exercise is recommended at least 5 days a week.

It is also important to do warm-up exercises, stretch before and after, and drink plenty of water or isotonic drinks. Likewise, if the sport is intense, it is advisable to wait a few hours after having eaten.

Before starting a physical exercise programme, it is advisable to have a medical check-up, especially if you are over 35 years old or suffer from an important disease (diabetes, asthma, myocarditis, etc.). The sports doctor advises on the most suitable type of exercise for each person, according to their physical condition and objectives.

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Having said that, we can now begin to undo some excuses we sometimes make for not exercising:

  • “I don’t have time”: Swimming, for example, is a very complete exercise (involves the whole body). In just 15 minutes it allows you to do more than enough work.
  • “I don’t have money for the gym”: Running down the street is free. In addition, marking and maintaining a route and seeing how it is done in less and less time helps to observe one’s own progress. On the other hand, running with a partner is more rewarding and makes it easier to achieve your goals.
  • “After exercising I am very tired”. You can start with some activity that tires but does not exhaust and, little by little, the physical capacity will increase. Initially, it can be difficult to catch up with the rhythm but, with time, many people say they can’t stop.
  • “I’m no longer old enough to exercise”: Age is not a reason to start doing anything, or to stop doing anything. You can exercise according to your personal characteristics.