Sport is good for much more than burning calories. If you exercise regularly, you do something good for your whole body. Many sports can even help against diseases – sometimes better than medication.
Whether you are plagued by migraines, suffer from back pain or depression: In many cases, sport can help. In various studies, scientists determined how certain sports help against diseases. In one case, they even noticed better results from exercise than from medication.
Sport has a positive effect on the psyche. Yale and Oxford scientists showed this in a large-scale study. They analyzed data from more than 1.2 million Americans and observed how exercise affected their mental health. They found that people who exercised regularly felt better. This was especially true for team sports. But the researchers also noticed positive effects when cycling, aerobics and activities in the gym.
But be careful: more exercise does not always mean a better mood. The researchers saw the greatest effects with 45 minutes of physical activity three to five days a week. However, they associated more than three hours of exercise with poorer mental health compared to no exercise.
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If you ride a bike regularly, you are doing something to prevent the aging of your cells. According to US researchers, just three short interval units per week help to slow down cell aging. 16 minutes of high-intensity cycling per unit is sufficient for this.
The scientists explained the stopping of cell aging by saying that the training maximizes the ability of the mitochondria to breathe at the cellular level. They found that reduced mitochondrial respiration, on the other hand, increased a person’s frailty.
Anyone who is plagued by pain in the forehead and temples should try endurance sports. In a small study, scientists determined how the frequency and intensity of migraines changed. The study participants did endurance training three times a week for 45 minutes each time. The training consisted of cycling, cross-trainer workouts and brisk walking.
The participants who completed the endurance training did not have less migraines than the control group. But not only physical fitness and activity improved, the study participants also coped better with migraines in everyday life. In addition, the intensity of the headache and neck pain decreased.
Whether it’s from sitting too much or poor posture – many suffer from chronic back pain. Strength training can be used to counteract this. It supports and stabilizes the muscles and thus ensures a better posture.
Strength training also protects postmenopausal women from osteoporosis and broken bones. This was determined by a study by US researchers. The scientists found that women with strong back muscles had less than half as many vertebral fractures as untrained women.
Even after a stroke, sport can work wonders. This was found by an international team of researchers from the London School of Economics and Harvard Medical School. They evaluated around 300 examinations from a total of around 340,000 patients. They compared the influence of physical activity compared to taking medication. Overall, they found that people in the rehabilitation period after a stroke benefited greatly from exercise.
In numerous cases, they achieved better results with regular exercise than with medication. The German Stroke Foundation recommends sports such as gymnastics, athletics or swimming. These help to strengthen endurance, coordination, flexibility and strength and to stabilize the psyche.