Which sports are best for your fitness?
David van Bodegom, physician and aging scientist at the Leyden Academy: “People think in sports always that they have to move like an Olympian. The more, the harder, the better. But when it comes to your health, you are not at all better off as an Olympian. It’s not about performance, it’s about moving. And, everything is movement. Also brushing teeth. From the point of view of health it is better to walk five days a week than to go to the gym three times a week. For your body it is more important that you move every day than you occasionally put a sporting top performance. It is that many little ones that make the difference. For that reason, people with a sedentary profession do well to get up very regularly. The point is that you break through this inactivity and that can also be done by getting a cup of coffee. “
Are you ever too old to exercise?
“No. There are centenarians who still run the marathon . A lot is possible. Well, a marathon is not for everyone. And of course you do over the years something of your muscle strength and fitness. But not everything you submit has to do with natural aging. The crazy thing is that we take a lot of that return for granted. If you have spent your entire working life behind a desk forty hours a week, we find it normal that you have a belly – by the time you retire. That the belly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we also take on the bargain. “It’s part of getting older,” people say. But that’s not true.”
Why is a belly not normal?
“I have done research among African people in rural areas. They are physically active as a farmer until old age, because otherwise they have nothing to eat, and among those people there is hardly any diabetes and almost no cardiovascular disease. Many of our Western ‘diseases’ are in fact not old-age, but lifestyle-related disorders. Inactivity is one of the reasons why we have one million people with diabetes in the Netherlands and half of the Dutch are overweight and therefore often have a small belly. Once again: this is not a plea for sports like crazy, but to break that inactivity. A large part of our physical condition and muscle strength is trainable. So there is a lot to win back, even if you have lost that already and even if you’re sixty,
Why should I still exercise at the age of 80?
“Many elderly people take pills against osteoporosis or high blood pressure. The question, however, is whether they also need it when they start to move. I am a proponent of ‘de-pumping’ as soon as possible. We know that movement, impact on your bones, is important, even if you already have bone decalcification and that this strengthens your bones – regardless of your age. We also know that from the age of thirty you lose in terms of bone and muscle mass. But that you can limit that relapse if you move. In addition, your lungs and your heart become stronger thanks to an active lifestyle. Exercise even protects you against dementia and reduces the risk of depression. “
Everyone wants to feel a few younger ones: why are not we still collectively on the sports field?
“Our body likes to use energy sparingly. So by nature we prefer not to move. The choice between sitting or standing is therefore a simple one. We are rather lazy than tired. In addition, sitting still is also rewarded. Children who wobble on their seats in the classroom are considered restless and are also told by the teacher or master. A lot of sitting still is partly learned. Fortunately, the standing tables are tearing up in education. Some children, thanks to that, also offer better performances. They can lose their energy, concentrate better and therefore get better figures. “
We are rather lazy than tired, how do you tempt people to get moving?
“Recent research by Leyden Academy shows that you do not need a professional to get in and stay on the move. Leyden Academy follows a group of over-50s who together spend an hour together for five mornings per week. They do that with a coach from their own ranks. Someone who, for example, has been a gym teacher in the past or has a lot of sports. The elderly do all kinds of exercises, walk around the field. The content is also a bit dependent on the expertise of the coach in question, but it does not really matter what you do – if you just get moving. And that’s what these seniors have been doing successfully for more than six years. And why are these people so loyal? Because they have fun together. They have fun, like to train together and then have a cup of tea or coffee. It is a good start and gives structure to the day. In addition to the fun that people experience at this seniors boot camp, moving them also gives them more health. We have subjected these elderly people to a walking test. People have to show how many meters they can travel in six minutes. Normally people from the age of forty deliver five meters every year, but these people have gained 20 meters every year.
Apart from the condition we also see that these people lose weight, that they need less or no medication and that they feel ‘just’ happier. ” Normally people from the age of forty deliver five meters every year, but these people have gained 20 meters every year. Apart from the condition we also see that these people lose weight, that they need less or no medication and that they feel ‘just’ happier. ” Normally people from the age of forty deliver five meters every year, but these people have gained 20 meters every year. Apart from the condition we also see that these people lose weight, that they need less or no medication and that they feel ‘just’ happier. “