Sports and nutrition are two of the most important factors when it comes to physical health. They not only ensure a healthy cardiovascular system, but also have a positive influence on our brain function. In this blog post, you can find out how they manage to do what they can do and why sport is so important for us.
Physical activity is in the genes of every human being. Our ancestors, the hunters and gatherers of the Stone Age, were estimated to walk up to 15 kilometres a day. This was still the case until about 10,000 years ago – it was only when the agricultural revolution ensured a sufficient food supply without having to walk many kilometres that human behaviour changed. The biology, however, remained largely the same.
This brief history clearly shows how firmly physical activity is anchored in our genes. Even though we no longer have to hunt or gather our food today, our body still needs plenty of exercise to function optimally.
Sports activities have a positive effect on our circulation. This is due to the fact that during sports the muscles are responsible for the drive – but these in turn need oxygen to work economically. The body therefore ensures a sufficient supply of oxygen to the muscles by transporting the oxygen via the blood into the muscles.
If you now take regular exercise, your body will slowly but surely adapt to the new conditions – our heart can pump more blood through the body per heartbeat and thus our resting pulse rate also drops. Since a high pulse is strenuous for the heart and can therefore lead to cardiovascular diseases, this adaptation of the body is very healthy.
Sport can actually do much more than just strengthen the cardiovascular system. Even brain function and the joy of life can be positively influenced by physical activity.
Doing sports in nature, for example, helps to clear the mind and has an almost meditative effect on many people. Cyclical sports such as jogging, cycling or swimming are particularly suitable for this, as they require little concentration due to the constant movements.
In addition, during sports, breathing is deepened, which also has a positive effect on the brain. Even after the end of doing sports, breathing remains deepened and thus supplies the body with plenty of oxygen.
A further positive effect is also shown on the biochemical level. For example, during sport, mood-lifting neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine are released, which increase well-being and improve mood.
In addition to the release of mood-lifting hormones, stress hormones are broken down during sports. Adrenaline and cortisol are particularly affected by this – this ensures a demonstrable reduction in stress, which can even be observed at the biochemical level.
However, sport not only helps to reduce stress, but can even counteract depressive moods. But also self-confidence as well as the own body perception often goes along with sport.
At least as important as physical activity is nutrition. What you should pay attention to and to what extent your body benefits from a balanced diet will now be examined in more detail.
As important as sport is – without a healthy diet the full health benefits are almost impossible to achieve. Thanks to the macronutrients, the food we eat is not only responsible for the body’s energy balance, but thanks to the micronutrients it also ensures that countless vital functions in the body run smoothly.
Food is our main source of energy – in particular two of the three macronutrients are of overriding importance for our energy intake: carbohydrates and fats. However, consumption is primarily about quality, not quantity.
Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in wholemeal products, ensure only a slow rise in blood sugar levels and supply your body with energy over a long period of time. As a result, there is no fatigue – this is different with short-chain carbohydrates, which are mainly found in sugary foods.
This is because the short-chain structure means that the blood sugar level rises much faster and more strongly, but drops again at least as quickly. Thus we feel a short burst of energy, but this is usually followed by a noticeable drop in fatigue.
This quality-quantity principle is similar for fats. While saturated fatty acids put a strain on the body and almost call for a midday nap, healthy fatty acids ensure an improved sense of well-being. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are among the healthy sources of fat.
Even if quality is more important than quantity, the second is by no means negligible. Because it is well known that the dose makes the poison!
This statement may sound strange to some people, but it actually corresponds to reality. Because a balanced diet, ideally consisting of plenty of vegetables and fruits, increases the intake of antioxidants.
If the body has to fight free radicals due to various environmental influences, the antioxidants will help to fight them. If the concentration of free radicals is increased, this is called “oxidative stress”, which is why a complete diet can literally reduce stress.
This also seems difficult to imagine – but even this is by no means freely invented. More and more studies are coming to the conclusion that a healthy intestinal flora has a positive effect on the mental condition.
On the contrary, a disturbed intestinal flora causes a worse mental condition. Intestinal health is particularly impaired when we supply our bodies with many highly processed products. Due to the high degree of processing and the artificial additives, important dietary fibres and micronutrients are missing – in addition, the artificial additives put a strain on the intestinal flora.
Accordingly, it is important to eat as varied a diet as possible. The proportion of plant foods in particular plays an important role here – because vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains are not only rich in essential micronutrients, but also contain plenty of healthy fibre to stimulate digestion.
Porridges in particular are suitable as a power breakfast for your intestines, as they are not only rich in fibre, but are also easily digestible due to the way they are prepared, and therefore do not put a lot of strain on the stomach.
Last but not least, there is a great advantage of a balanced diet, which we do not want to withhold from you. After all, if you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, you will be rewarded with good spirits.
This happens thanks to the secondary plant compounds, or more precisely the polyphenols, which are naturally present in fruits and vegetables. Particularly rich in polyphenols are various types of berries, cocoa powder as well as various spices, vegetables and fruits such as cloves, cherries or spinach.
Sports and nutrition offer a variety of health benefits. They not only have a positive effect on heart health and intestinal flora, but also increase our well-being. Our mood also benefits and we can even prevent fatigue or depressive moods.
Thus, physical activity as well as a healthy diet play a significant role in a healthy and happy life – so we wish you a lot of fun with sports and meals 😉
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