“Just a little bit of physical exercise, a bit more of what you do: this is the first step to break a sedentary lifestyle and start changing things”, Professor Daniela Lucini, head of the Exercise Medicine Unit at Humanitas, addressed the transmission of RAI-3 Elisir to talk about physical activity and its benefits at any age.

young fitness woman runner running at forest trail

“Sport and exercise are like a drug, not because they get people “sick” but in the sense that they can be done by anyone in an appropriate manner, taking into account the physical conditions of each individual person”, says the professor.

By the data gathered from Eurobarometer, surveys show a rather bleak picture of the relationship between Italians and sports: 60% do not participate in sports, 27% do so rarely, 10% on a fairly regular basis and only 3% regularly: are we are a nation of lazy individuals?  “Laziness counts but perhaps many people think that by participating in physical activity, it is only beneficial if you exercise “a lot” and then that seems like “too much” and so then they do not do it and remain inactive.   Instead, scientific studies have shown that it takes just a little exercise to feel better and then if we come to an appropriate dose, the famous half-hour walk a day, then the real results are noticed. ”


What kind of sport to choose?

Every age has its own sport: dancing and playing games for seniors and playing team sports for children. Children are the ideal individuals to teach that physical activity is important for healthy development. However, a sport itself is not enough: it serves as very little exercise if then they return home and remain on the couch in front of the TV or with a smartphone in their hands for hours”.


What should you do before choosing what sport to participate in?

“It is advised to speak with a doctor who must assess whether there are contraindications and perform the so-called examination-with an aim to answer the question” why do you want to do sports, what do you want to achieve?. An electrocardiogram is done, as well as a blood analysis to exclude the presence of cardiovascular risk”.


What are the benefits of physical activity?

“Exercise is important for keeping blood glucose levels under control and also managing cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes. The sport goes to modulate the mechanisms responsible for conditions such as hypercholesterolemia, for example. Whenever we want to improve cardiovascular risk or blood pressure, it is a good idea to do aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, and running. These are all activities that involve moving the whole body and perhaps make you sweat a little.”

“For whoever is involved in a sedentary lifestyle, it is best to start with something less intense: the secret is to show progress and loosen up: it is better to start with a walk and then you can move on to a race.”


For women who are at risk of osteoporosis?

“For women still young but predisposed to risk, it is good to be involved  in a type of physical activity, such as running, that facilitates the reconstruction of the bone or the impact that it has. Whoever is already suffering from osteoporosis should instead pay attention to the high risk of fractures. It is best to be involved in swimming and sports that work to strengthen the muscles.”

Finally, psychological well-being: “Physical activity also wards off disturbances such as anxiety, depression and stress. How many after sports have said “I’m tired but happy, I feel better?” This is precisely because physical activity also works on the central nervous system”.