Bienfaits du sport sur la santé | Holyfat

Health benefits of sport

To move is to stay healthy!

We will discuss here what happens to a healthy individual who is not on a particular diet. Of course, each body reacts differently, a particular diet or even a pathology can activate other mechanisms.

Physical activity recommendations for adults (18 - 64 years)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), physical activity includes leisure, travel, household chores, sports, recreational activities...

In order to improve muscle and bone condition and cardio respiratory endurance, but also to reduce the risk of depression, the WHO recommends to practice :

  • At least 150min of moderate intensity endurance activity (walking, weight training, gentle gymnastics, rollerblading, golf, skiing...) or 75min of sustained activity (in periods of at least 10min - running, cardio training, cycling, ...)
  • Practice a muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days a week (yoga, pilates, bodybuilding, etc.)

The objective of these recommendations is to fight against a sedentary lifestyle which, as we can expect, has deleterious effects and increases the risk of

  • To develop a metabolic syndrome, which associates at least 3 pathologies: overweight/obesity, type II diabetes, dyslipidemia (high LDL-cholesterol and/or low HDL-cholesterol)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, angina, myocardial infarction...)
  • Lung diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, ...)
  • Neurological disorders (dementia, learning, memory, depression, anxiety, ...)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, sarcopenia, fractures...)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (constipation, digestive disorders, slowed transit...)
  • Risk of cancer (digestive, breast, endometrial, prostate...)
  • Chronic fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, night wakings, deep sleep...

We therefore observe a wide range of deleterious effects of inactivity in humans. But why? What happens when you practice a physical activity and sport and why is it so beneficial to your health?

Sport: a real psychological ally

Some people do sport to escape, to forget the daily grind and "put their brains down", to maintain themselves and to feel good. For others, the objective is to gain or lose a few pounds, muscle or fat, or to take up a challenge, to surpass oneself and get out of one's comfort zone. Whatever the reason for putting on the bra or sneakers: it's a good one! Apart from any harmful excesses or crazy fads, of course.

Motivation, an integral part of psychological well-being and fulfillment and therefore of mental health

Let's go over a few philosophical notions, starting with an essential point: well-being!

First of all, psychological well-being, theorized by Carole Ryff in 1989, is made up of six dimensions: self-acceptance (of our different facets, both positive and negative), positive relationships with others, autonomy, control of the environment (i.e., the ability to choose a context that is adapted to one's needs), the meaning of life (seeking out goal-oriented activities, according to one's values) and personal growth (concern for self-improvement, one's competencies and behaviors).

It is easy to understand how sport can contribute to this well-being by playing on each of these dimensions.

The sociologist Corey Keyes (2002, 2007) has also built a model that integrates three dimensions: social well-being, Ryff's psychological well-being and the concept of subjective well-being (life satisfaction/positive emotions). He defines flourishing as a state of full mental health.

Sport therefore participates, via these different dimensions, in the blossoming and well-being of the athlete, and therefore in his or her mental health. It also plays a very important role in sleep regulation and stress management, but we will come back to this later.

From a physiological point of view

As mentioned above, inactivity has many negative effects on the body. Therefore, by analogy, activity is beneficial and has the opposite effects on the cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal and respiratory systems, as well as on the bones, muscles and brain.

Sport is good for the heart and blood vessels

During exercise, the cardiac output increases and the acceleration is generally proportional to the intensity of the effort. If the cardiac output is 4 to 6L/minute at rest, it can be multiplied by 6 or more during sports. The heart being a muscle like any other, with training, it will adapt physiologically to the effort: it will become more muscular and bigger, increasing either the volume of the cardiac cavities that receive the blood, or their contractility in order to send the blood more efficiently. The great benefit is that at rest, the heart rate decreases, the blood is more fluid and the heart no longer races at the slightest effort, so it is less solicited and less tired in the long term.

In a few weeks, we also notice that the heart is less solicited, even during exercise (we "hit the cardio less"). You last longer, the effort can be more sustained or more intense: in addition to the cardiovascular benefits, it must be said that it feels good (and this brings us back to well-being and satisfaction, in all senses of the word "it feels good to your little heart").

Moreover, sport favours the reduction of blood pressure, reducing the risks of hypertension. This effect, combined with a decrease in triglycerides and blood cholesterol, prevents the appearance of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, thus limiting the risks of atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack or angina.

Breathe in, breathe out...

During exercise, the lungs work harder to supply the body with oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

When you start your workout, certain areas of the brain are stimulated by different factors: the increase in the concentration ofCO2 and the decrease of oxygen in the blood, the increase of certain hormones (adrenaline, dopamine...) or the information coming from the receptors located in your muscles and tendons. This stimulation will lead to an increase in the breathing frequency, a greater contraction of the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, thus increasing the volume of your thoracic cage. The system is so well established that the amount of air in your lungs already increases slightly when you prepare for your session, due to the effect of anticipation!

During exercise, the volume of air moved by the lungs increases from 6 to 8L at rest to 80 to 150L per minute depending on the intensity of the exercise (a very high level athlete will even be able to reach 250L, a good big well-trained lung!) To provide more oxygen and remove more carbon dioxide, it is better to increase the volume of air being ventilated rather than the breathing rate. The beginner's mistake is to breathe faster rather than breathe in/out sufficiently, thus preventing the air from renewing itself properly in the alveoli and resulting in a lack of oxygen. Generally, the amount of air being ventilated reaches an equilibrium point during exercise. The interest of training also lies in the knowledge of one's body and its adaptation to the effort: the athlete, in particular endurance athlete, learns to breathe more deeply, his muscles contract more strongly but less often and his ventilatory frequency at rest is more quickly recovered after the effort. At rest, the blood oxygenates better and as it is more fluid thanks to the cardiac training, it is all good.

A quick aside on VO2 max, which we often hear about: it is a performance indicator widely used in sports science. It stands for "maximum oxygen uptake" and corresponds to the maximum amount of oxygen available to the muscles per minute. The VO2 max reflects the efficiency of each step, from inspiration to the use of oxygen by the muscle. For a sedentary person, it will be about 35ml/min/kg (30 for a woman), while it can reach 85ml/min/kg for a highly trained athlete (70 for a woman). It is determined by genes and training, reaches its maximum at the end of puberty and gradually decreases without training.

Fighting overweight and preventing its harmful effects

One of the great motivations of some athletes is to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight and eliminate localized fat.

Be aware that although good fat is life (Holyfat's founding saying), depending on its location in the body, it can be harmful. Too much fat in the abdomen and viscera doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease and also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. An INTERHEART study[1] even showed that the risk of myocardial infarction increased by 20% per additional waist circumference (above 80cm in women and 94cm in men).

At the structural level

Sport also has a positive impact on the health of joints, bones and muscles, provided that the session is well done. It is obvious that poor positioning or imposing unrealistic constraints on the body is deleterious, so it is necessary to always work with respect for "joint intelligence" so as not to damage the cartilage or joints.

Physical activity helps to maintain a functional cartilage capital by playing an essential role in its trophicity. Even for someone who suffers from osteoarthritis, physical activity is beneficial because it reduces stiffness and pain.

Concerning the bones, there are beneficial effects on bone density and microarchitecture. Sport will help prevent osteoporosis by maintaining bone mass, especially if practiced from a young age. Although osteoporosis often appears in the elderly, it has pediatric origins: it is therefore important to practice sports during childhood and adolescence, especially to improve mineral density and muscle capital.

The central element of any physical activity: the muscle. Sport plays a key role in its construction and in the definition of the different muscle masses by acting on the size, number and type of muscle fibers. Depending on the level of activity, the nature of the exercises, the number of training sessions or repetitions, different fibers are solicited: fast fibers (type II or white fibers) during a sprint, slow fibers (type I or red fibers) during a marathon, for example. The type I are small, not very tiring, benefit from a good blood irrigation and allow a slow and durable contraction, of moderate intensity. Type II are larger, fatigable, benefit from optimal innervation and allow contractions of maximum intensity but short duration.

Muscle fibers are also distinguished by the metabolic pathways they use (glycolytic metabolism/oxidative metabolism). Physical exercise solicits the skeletal muscle which, through a mechanical phenomenon, will use chemical energy to contract and produce a movement. To do this, it needs energy substrates from the liver or fat cells, and oxygen, which is supplied by the cardiorespiratory system. By drawing on the reserves of sugars and lipids, sport also plays a role in body composition, leading to a reduction in the risk of metabolic diseases. We also note, according to Hollander (and co, 2000), that sport is an effective way to increase antioxidant defense and thus reduce oxidative damage to DNA. According to a study by Bamman (and co, 2004), sports that develop muscular hypertrophy - particularly strength training - improve not only strength but also the ability of a muscle to rebuild itself in the context of an injury, by stimulating the factors involved in muscle regeneration.

In short, sport solicits muscle function and allows for its development, maintenance, reduction of joint stress, better recovery from musculoarticular injury and maintenance of bone quality. All in all, only positive when the movement is correctly performed!

Building up the brain

Numerous studies provide evidence that the chemical reactions that take place in the brain during sports training (such as the production of serotonin or endorphins, for example) also produce other molecules such as neurotrophins that promote the development of neurons. When neurotrophins are combined with the improved blood supply to the brain caused by sport, as mentioned above, they allow the neurons to function better. There is a very significant effect of sport on the elaborate cerebral functions, such as the memorization of a route or the memorization of gestures to be performed. Sport therefore helps to fight against cognitive aging and neurodegenerative disorders or diseases.

Feeling good is not only in your head!

If you feel good after a sports session, it is not only because you are proud of the session you have done. It's also not insignificant if, after a few high-intensity sessions, you want more (or even look forward to your session). Beyond the positive effects on the mind and morale, practicing a sport activity leads to a cascade of hormonal reactions!

This can lead to an addiction to sport, as long as it is reasonable and does not lead to complications. This addiction can become a pathology! But as Paracelsus said : "everything is poison, nothing is poison, it is the dose that makes the poison". So be careful not to overdo it!

Let's go back to our hormones.

First of all, as mentioned above, regular physical activity has a proven preventive and curative effect on type 2 diabetes: by helping to reduce body fat, it limits the risk of insulin resistance. Sport also improves sensitivity to insulin (hormone that regulates glycemia), particularly in the muscles, glucose tolerance, glycemic balance and associated risk factors.

Apart from the famous insulin, when you exercise, your body secretes other hormones to regulate all the systems involved: endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline will act together to allow you to perform, but also to enjoy.

  • Dopamine, the hormone of alertness and pleasure: produced by neurons located in the hypothalamus, it reduces the feeling of fatigue. It is also what can make you addicted to sports because it is addictive. Dopamine promotes the production of two other hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline.
  • Adrenaline and noradrenaline, known as "stress hormones" are part of the catecholamine family. They help us to react when we find ourselves in a dangerous situation and, in the case of sport, help us to motivate ourselves and to excel:
    • Norepinephrine: It can act as a hormone or as a neurotransmitter. When it acts as a hormone, it is released into the bloodstream (after synthesis in the adrenal glands) and stimulates the production of adrenaline. It plays a major role in the fight or flight response by increasing heart rate, blood flow to the muscles and oxygen to the brain to promote a rapid response, and by increasing blood glucose levels. It also prepares us for action and increases the effects of motivation. Finally, it will allow the release of lipids contained in the fat cells when the glucose level is low.

Sport again plays an important role in promoting the production of this molecule, as a low concentration of noradrenaline in the body can lead to attention problems, lack of energy, decreased motivation, apathy, sadness and depression.

  • Adrenaline: has similar effects to its cousin norepinephrine (although they act on different receptors): increased heart rate, hypervigilance, increased speed of heart contraction, increased blood pressure, dilation of bronchial tubes and pupils, decreased pain, increased thermogenesis (heat production) and increased muscle strength. These different mechanisms also lead to a release of sugar reserves (or fats if glucose reserves are low) in order to provide the energy necessary for the body to react.
  • Endorphins, the "happiness molecules" of athletes: They limit breathlessness and exhaustion by moderating cardiorespiratory functions. Endorphins have an analgesic action, i.e., pain relief, and even euphoric effects (a feeling of "well-being") at very low doses. 30 minutes of effort are enough to taste the beneficial effects of endorphins. Endurance sports are those that lead to a more important production. It should be noted that the same reactions are observed after sport when the brain is bathed in endorphins as after a shot of morphine! The anxiolytic effects of endorphins also help to fight against negative feelings and stress, so sport, we can never repeat it enough: it's good for morale!

Sport, a real health and well-being asset

You don't need to practice 2 hours of sport every day to feel the effects, but even a little physical activity is necessary to feel good. So, even during the confinement, we take time regularly to walk, run, get some fresh air, and from time to time during the week, we do a little session at home: cardio training, yoga, weight training, zumba ...

Practice, practice, practice, and with a smile!

And our Holyfat products in all this?

Holyfat products rich in lipids are part of a varied and balanced diet. Without necessarily having made 200km of exit, it is completely possible. You can choose to consume an energy puree or a Holyfat energy bar. It will never replace a meal, let's face it, and of course it remains rich (so consume in moderation) but a dose eaten at breakfast or as a snack can help maintain attention at work for example (avoiding variations in blood sugar, cravings, post meal energy crashes) and give you the energy to go for a little walk or a sports session at home! So there's no reason to deprive yourself, just continue to enjoy your food!

Do not hesitate to consult our other articles, in particular "How to avoid fatigue during exercise, especially during endurance sports", "What is a hypoglycemic crisis", "Is the ketogenic diet suitable for athletes" as well as our focus on almonds, walnuts orMCT oil... With the addition of some tips and advice for your preparation and your sports outings (or your busy days).

[1]"A global case-control study of risk factors for acute myocardial infarction" - 200

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1 comment

oui faire du sport est bénéfique pour notre santé ,cet article est très intéressant merci.


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