Those who are physically active on a regular basis are rewarded with many physical and psychological benefits. Sports helps in weight reduction, increases endurance and strengthens muscles.

But an active lifestyle has other, less apparent, positive effects: Those who are even a little active during the day will be rewarded with better and deeper sleep. Moreover, physical activity increases dopamin and serotonin levels (which reduce stress and alleviate depression), increases resistance to cortisol (a stress hormone) and lowers cholesterol values.

Nowadays, there are endless ways to keep fit. Constantly new, trendy types of sports become part of the fitness landscape. Zumba, crossfit or bouldering are added to the classical types of sports like jogging or football. Almost all types of sports can be divided into two categories: anaerobic training and aerobic training. Aerobic training consists of exercises performed over a longer period of time (i.e. endurance sports). Anaerobic training requires short bursts of energy and serves mostly to build up muscle.

Strength training

When one thinks of strength training, classical bodybuilders quickly come to mind. This perception is outdated. Nowadays, the focus is less on training on equipment and more on natural movement routines, which are favoured. Whether training takes place at home or in the gym, it is for the individual to decide. One of the main advantages of the gym is professional advice. Also, help is provided in the preparation of training plans. Most gyms have a good selection of fitness equipment. Various endurance sports equipment and many devices for selectively training individual muscles are available. Naturally, the gym also has disadvantages however – above all the costs and also the mostly long minimum contractual term. During peak times after work, gyms can get really full and this results in waiting times to use the equipment. In this case, it pays off to drop by precisely during these times to choose a gym.

Endurance sports

Basically, the best physical activity is the one you enjoy the most. If you enjoy what you do, you will be more willing to keep doing it on a regular basis for a long period of time. Whether biking, jogging, swimming, aerobic exercises, zumba, football or handball – those who follow a few tips will not have injuries and will soon be pleased with the initial successes.

Don’t overdo it: Even if you are highly motivated at first, too much enthusiasm can often be detrimental. It is better to adjust the body slowly to the stress and to perform short, not too intensive exercises first and then increase them slowly.

Let a doctor examine you to be on the safe side, especially if you want to engage in intense sports activities, so illnesses or injuries can be detected early. 

Select the right shoes: Since many types of endurance sports involve a good deal of running, it is important to pay attention to the right equipment. Professional advice in the sporting goods shop is always advisable. A person with misaligned feet can go to the orthopedist to be examined and get a prescription for shoe inlays.

Do not train while sick: Even if it is hard to skip training, it’s the thing to do when you are sick. Feverish viral infections, in particular, often affect the heart and the consequence could be a life-threatening heart muscle inflammation. 

Train with friends: Nothing motivates more than training together with friends. Especially endurance sports are perfectly suitable for this. When your circle of friends does not have the right partners, running groups or sports clubs are the perfect point of contact.

And when pinching does occur, natural preparations with sheep’s butter, devil’s claw extract and frankincense help.

2018 Dr. Dünner