Diabetes, depression, asthma: know the ideal exercise to treat diseases – 09/01/2021

There are so many benefits that the regular practice of physical activity brings to health and well-being, that for a few years it has become part of the protocols for the prevention and treatment of diseases in practically all medical specialties.

The recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine, a North American reference organization in sports medicine, is at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise or 30 minutes of high intensity per day, five times a week, preferably distributed in strength, flexibility and mobility exercises.

Among health professionals, the consensus is that the best physical activity is one that the person does with pleasure and, thus, manages to maintain regularity.

When there are diseases installed, however, it is worth knowing that some training offers more benefits than others, as well as keeping an eye on the intensity of the practice of certain modalities for safety. Learn more below.

Osteoporosis: weight training, functional training, walking

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Osteoporosis is caused by the progressive loss of bone mass, which makes bones more fragile and, therefore, subject to fracture even in light of light trauma. Both men and women can develop the disease, since the hormones testosterone and estrogen, which play an important role in protecting bones, have their production reduced after the age of 50 years.

In women, due to menopause, this hormonal drop is more abrupt, which makes them the majority of those affected — in Brazil, one in three women in this age group has osteoporosis, according to data from Febrasgo (Brazilian Federation of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Associations).

Strengthening training, such as functional and weight training, are the most suitable. The muscle tension generated favors the maintenance of bone mass, which helps to prevent the progression of the disease; and muscle mass gain improves support and protection for bones and joints.

It is worth including in the training movements to develop reflex and balance, thus reducing the risk of suffering falls, which can be fatal in patients with osteoporosis.

Impact modalities such as walking, running, basketball and volleyball are also indicated — the impact increases the fixation of calcium in the bones — but it is important to assess the stage of the disease in order to exercise safely, as these classes offer a risk of fall.

Depression: group activities

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In principle, any and all exercise is positive for controlling depression, since physical activity in general stimulates the release of serotonin and endorphins, hormones linked to the feeling of pleasure and well-being and usually at a low level in patients with the disease.

Collective modalities, whether it is a team sport, a dance class or a group race, can be beneficial by promoting socialization, working on the playful aspect, creating a sense of commitment and increasing motivation to attend sessions.

Training that involves challenges and competition, such as crossfit, running and triathlon, can help by overcoming a bias. If there is associated excess weight or obesity, aerobic classes can help a lot in the weight loss process and, therefore, in the recovery of positive self-image and self-esteem.

The most important thing in the case of people with depression is to find one or more activities that give them pleasure, as this way there is less chance of falling into monotony and it is easier to maintain adherence to classes.

Asthma: swimming, cycling, running

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Asthma is chronic inflammation of the lower airways, which hinders the flow of air to the lungs and leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and wheezing.

It is common to think of swimming as the best exercise for those who have the disease, but it is not the only one. The modality is really good because it works a lot on the respiratory rhythm, which helps to strengthen the muscles responsible for breathing (diaphragm) and improve lung capacity.

Other aerobic activities, such as cycling and running, offer the same benefit. It is important to respect the limits of the body and seek to train at a comfortable effort level, which does not lead to extreme fatigue or leave the person breathless, which can trigger crises. Yoga and Pilates are other good options, as they also work on breathing.

Hypertension: aerobic

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Exercise is an antidote to both prevent and treat high blood pressure. When the disease is already installed, it is even more important that they be done with professional guidance and at the appropriate intensity, usually moderate. Good examples of aerobic exercise are running, walking, jumping rope, dancing, and cycling.

Heavy training can force the heart to pump blood harder or faster, putting more pressure on the arteries. The same goes for exercises that make the person hold their breath (such as movements with a lot of weight in weight training), which should also be avoided.

Diabetes: aerobic + weight training

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Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it manufactures. The function of this hormone is to carry glucose into cells to be used as fuel for the body’s activities; without insulin, blood sugar gets high (hyperglycemia) or gets stored as fat.

The combination of resistance exercises (bodybuilding, functional, Pilates) and cardio (walking, cycling, running, swimming, dancing) is ideal for controlling diabetes, and can even reduce or dispense with the use of medication, depending on the case and since than with medical follow-up.

While weight training stimulates the production of a protein that optimizes the uptake of sugar from the bloodstream into the muscles, aerobics, which demand immediate energy, quickly lower the glucose level. As they also work on the cardiovascular system, aerobics also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and help you lose weight, common needs especially in the case of type 2 diabetes.

Sarcopenia: bodybuilding, pilates, functional

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Losing muscle mass is a natural aging process, which can be accelerated by harmful habits such as physical inactivity and poor diet. When the loss of muscles becomes limiting, causing damage to strength, mobility, balance and motor coordination, the picture may be sarcopenia, which deserves attention from adults over 40 years of age, since degeneration is progressive and symptoms can take time to appear.

Training that will lead to strength gain, such as weight training and functional training, are the most indicated and should include the large muscle groups — trunk, upper and lower limbs.

It is also important to practice flexibility exercises, which will stretch the muscles shortened by lack of movement, and mobility, which will involve the joints and help restore coordination, range of motion, control of the correct execution of movements, and more importantly, functional capacity.

exercise is medicine

This report is part of the campaign of Live well Exercise É Remédio, which aims to emphasize the importance of physical activity for health and give tips and ideas to combat sedentary lifestyles.

The contents address the importance of physical activity to prevent and treat diseases, the signs your body gives when you don’t move enough, tips to make exercise a habit, and find out which one suits you best, essential care to get started to move, including in old age and inspiring reports from people who have treated serious health issues with physical activity. But there’s so much more. Check out all the campaign content here.

This is the third campaign in a series of Live well which has brought thematic content to help fight the problems that many people face in their daily lives and contribute to your health and well-being.

The first was Overcome Postpartum Depression, held in March; and the second was “Have a Healthy Mouth” in June.

Sources: Arthur Feltrin, pulmonologist at Hospital Vila Nova Star (SP); Ebert Barbosa, physical educator specialized in strength training by UFRN (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte) and personal trainer by Bodytech Tirol (RN); Karina Hatano, sports check-up doctor at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein (SP); and Páblius Staduto Braga, sports doctor at Hospital Nove de Julho (SP).