These days I found myself remembering a start at the Rio Half Marathon, the biggest muvuca at the start. And I was talking to several runners. Each one had a tip or explained what the running had improved in their life. That’s why I decided to go back and ask the doctors about the benefits of practicing sports for the heart, brain, circulation and for our beauty.
HEART: they say that an athlete’s heart beats slower, at rest, and that good cholesterol is very good. To talk about the benefits of racing for the heart, we sought out dr. Juliano Burkhardt, nutrologist and cardiologist, Titular member of the Brazilian Association of Nutrology (ABRAN), the Brazilian Society of Cardiology (SBC), the American Heart Association and the International Colleges for Advancement of Nutrology. Master’s degree at Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Portugal, he has acted and acts as a lecturer and lecturer in his specialties at undergraduate and graduate levels. The doctor is internationally certified by Harvard Medical School, for the treatment of obesity. He is medical director of the V’naia Institute and Scientific Director of the European Academy of Personalized Medicine in Brazil.
“In general, the continued practice of physical exercises such as running improves the mood, helps with weight loss; can help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol; improves the capacity of the heart muscle and provides greater control of blood pressure. On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle has a direct impact on health, as it favors the increase in weight, blood pressure, glucose and blood lipids, which increases the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Simple tips like climbing stairs, moving more, walking and jogging daily are actions that help lower cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol is one of the most important things you can do to promote overall heart health. You need to be active for 30 minutes most days. Since a healthy lifestyle requires motivation and encouragement, getting a workout buddy can help! Running and aerobic training improve coronary circulation and circulation in the lower limbs. According to studies, aerobic exercise protects the sick heart, as it facilitates the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria (organelles responsible for producing energy for cells) in heart cells.”
BRAIN: who will explain the benefits of the race for the brain is Dr Gabriel Novaes de Rezende Batistella, a neurologist and neuro-oncologist, member of the Society for Neuro-Oncology Latin America (SNOLA). Graduated in Neurology and Neuro-Oncology from the Escola Paulista de Medicina at UNIFESP, he is now an assistant in Clinical Neuro-Oncology at the same institution. The doctor is the Brazilian representative of the International Outreach Committee of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (IOC-SNO).
“Exercising your body regularly lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise improves blood flow and protects memory; stimulates chemical changes in the brain that improve learning, mood and thinking. Exercise keeps your reasoning skills sharp. In addition to improving heart health, regular resistance exercise such as running, swimming or cycling can also promote the growth of new brain cells and preserve existing brain cells. The release of endorphins generates euphoric and well-being reactions, which also help maintain mood. Running can create new neurons, improving cognition and helping the body to age healthily.”
LEG CIRCULATION: having good vascular circulation in the legs is a huge gain to face life with great health until the end. To discuss this topic, we call dr. Aline Lamaita, vascular surgeon, member of the board (marketing committee) of the Brazilian Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery (SBACV), the Brazilian Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, the American College of Phlebology, and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She graduated from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Santa Casa de São Paulo (2000), specializing in Lifestyle Medicine from Harvard University (2018) and specialized in Vascular Surgery by the Associação Médica Brasileira. Today she devotes most of her time to Phlebology (the study of the veins).
“Both walking and running are good for health and some benefits are common in both modalities, such as the control of hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol and the release of endorphins, hormones that relax the body, generate a feeling of well-being and support good sleep quality. But both are excellent for the circulatory system, as the practice of physical exercise increases the flow of blood circulation and improves venous return in order to deliver oxygen to muscle cells and nearby tissues. As soon as the blood reaches the lower limbs, it must return to the heart to be pumped again. In running, the capacity for energy loss and, consequently, for weight loss is greater. In addition to contributing to fat burning, exercise helps to build muscle and strengthen the immune system. To reduce post-race pain, a good strategy is to bet on elastic compression sports socks. They have graduated compression ranging from 15-23 mmHg to 20-30 mmHg depending on the manufacturer and are capable of: improving venous return, keeping muscles warm, reducing muscle fatigue, speeding up recovery, decreasing the incidence of cramps and calf pain, in addition to offering a beneficial effect during exercise – which can improve performance. There is an immediate effect and a post-physical activity action. Wearing socks reduces the breakdown products, lactic and pyruvic acids, which are linked to that muscle pain the day after (or 48 hours after) a run, for example. In the case of socks, accelerating circulation, it reduces the concentration of these acids. Despite the multi-benefits, it is important to always pay attention to the sock’s specifications, take adequate measures so that the sock has a perfect fit on the legs and consult a vascular surgeon.”
BEAUTY: everyone wants to look beautiful from photos on social media. And of course, right after a race, that sparkle in the eye makes it stand out. To scientifically check whether running can make people more beautiful, we consulted Dr. Beatriz Lassance. She is a plastic surgeon graduated from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Santa Casa de São Paulo, with residency in plastic surgery at the Faculty of Medicine of ABC. He worked at Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gusthuis, in Amsterdam (Netherlands). He is a full member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery, the ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American College of LifeStyle Medicine and the Brazilian College of Lifestyle Medicine.
“The accumulation of free radicals in tissues is one of the factors that lead to aging. Physical activity consumes energy and is therefore able to neutralize these radicals, improving what we call oxidative stress. Circulation in the skin is better. Exercise speeds up the metabolism of the entire body, cells are stimulated to absorb more nutrients, and to secrete toxins more efficiently. During the race, our entire circulation is more in demand. The arterial system (blood that “feeds” moving muscles, for example) increases its flow, and consequently, the supply of nutrients and oxygen to all tissues. With better blood flow, the lymphatic system starts to work faster, detoxifying the body and reducing fluid retention. This reverses the skin leaving it more hydrated, flushed and more lush. We also have increased endogenous antioxidants, which fight free radicals; this leads to aging delay with anti-aging effect. Thus, our body has a better antioxidant response with regular physical activity. Another benefit of running is to properly use the energy from the carbohydrate (sugar) we consume, reducing oxidative stress and preventing collagen glycation, a process in which excess sugar binds to the skin’s supporting fibers, favoring the appearance of sagging and wrinkles.”