As Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote 2018, the differences around the globe are still astonishing.
The degree of settledness is increasing everywhere and in some countries, more than half of adults are not sufficiently active.
For Germany, several surveys between 2002 and 2016 showed that a staggering 42 percent of adults do not move enough; including 40 percent of men and 44 percent of women. For the US, the figures are 40 percent – divided into 32 percent of men and 48 percent of women.
Hello, my name is Kai Markus and i´m a 46 years old german. I love sport and i was running 2017 in 202 days more than 11000 km from Hamburg in Germany to Shanghai in China. I feel quite healthy and fit – but it wasnt so all the time. Before i made my initiative i was sitting in a office, move too less and eat too much unhealthy food.
But i want get old – old and health – i want play with my son and maybe my grandchilds, i want undestand artificial intelligence and robots and i want understand all new technologies they are comming the next decades. I want keep fit and enjoy my life after getting retiered. I want travel and i want have fun… But how? I kno wall the desiase and problems aging bring up…
Everyone wants to grow old, nobody wants to be old.
Endurance sports in older age?
20 years is a long time. And especially if you are already 50 years old or even more. Well, I’m just 46 years old, but I have been working for more than 20 years with topics like aging, getting old and what I can oppose to my biological and psychological disintegration. I always keep in mind a word of a friend of mine – Prof. Dr. med. János Winkler: „getting 120 years old isn’t that difficult, change your habit and behave is hard…“
„Athletes no longer live, they only die healthier.“ is something popularly known but is it true?
Make it short: „Not at all“
First of all: Running is not something every one can do – even many running magazines tell us this. Personal i have friends the kill there hip by running and after they go to specialist they realize: cycling or swimming would be better and not harm their hip.
Our bones, musculoskeletal system and joint and ligament constellations dictate the nature of our movement. It is indisputable: Everyone can find a kind of physical activity that keeps him fit. And one thing is certain, running will probably be possible for most people. But i don’t like the pressure some people get from some magazines or articles „everyone can running“ no – sometimes is better be open and find the missing pice in other activities.
But my personal summary on that: „Move your ass!“ but i´ll not say: „you need go running in any case“.
Let me start with a interesting research of University of Stanford in California.
They check about 500 runners and about 500 non runners (also not doing any other sport or exercise regularly)
- Age 50 and above
- time measurement about 21 years
- each year answered a complete survey about
- measured indicators like walking, getting up from a chair, grabbing objects, dressing, grooming, …
- average running 4 hours a week for the runner group
- at the end of the 21 years still running 75 minutes a week with an age to 70 or even 80 years
So far the background.
But whats the results? Is there an impact or not? Is this similar to other research results? What we can learn about this?
Physical complaints came 16 years later
This group had fewer physical complaints. They even led a more active life. Of course, in both groups the damage increased in the 21 years, but the big difference is: In the active people on average about 16 years later !!!
inactive people die earlier
But thats not all. Even the active group participants died much later. After 19 years 15% of jogger group died while about 34% to the non active participants died.
inactive people have more health problems
Still – thats not all: Runners are also less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and the number of deaths from cancer, neurological disorders and infections was significantly lower.
cleared up an old prejudice!
Older runners are more likely to have orthopedic disorders such as Arthorse or similar. You also do not need an artificial knee or an artificial hip more often than the inactive people.
But other studies also reveal something amazing:
Australian researchers found that simple exercise or sport like walking can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
- At the Charité Berlin it was found out that women between the ages of 70-93 could improve their memory performance by doing sports at this age
- The University of Bremen has shown that regular exercise such as walking or coordination training increases the brain’s capacity
- At the Ruhr-University it was found that people between 65-85 years have a better balance and more flexibility than non-dancers when dancing regularly. But also their sense of touch, attention and thinking performance were better than in the comparison groups
And here it is unfortunately as with everything else:
Too much and too little is not the solution.
It depends on many factors and some I want to name briefly:
If you have been inactive for a long time please go to a check-up first. Heart, lungs, musculoskeletal system and body fluids should be checked once. Then you know where you stand, how to start and what to leave better.
- Getting started is easy – just keeping going is challenging.
- Start slowly, increase moderately and set yourself small stage goals.
Make your goals visible. On your phone, on a black board, at your car or some where else.
- Together things are much easier.
Studies show that it is helpful for newcomers or people entering the market to join group activities
- Already have propleme with the heart, maybe diabetes or other pre-existing conditions?
No problem: there is a lot of movement you can do for all kinds of pre-existing illnesses. Experts, the health insurance companies or self-help organizations can provide support here.
- Do not exaggerate.
Any movement can be too much. We are like a machine: we have to be serviced, lubricated and oiled and not allowed to overheat. We have to start slowly. And each of us has an individual best case movement and speed.
- What you offer your body, he will use – whether it is good or bad food.
Change your eating behavior slowly but steadily. Question Food recommendations critical – no matter who they come from and use common sense.
It remains: Move your ass and not sit around lazy.
But how can I start?
To start is easy and there are many many variations i want to give to you.
1. Use the day efficiently.
When brushing your teeth in the morning and in the evening, you have 3 minutes each time you can walk around, or just bob up and down in the rider’s seat. This trains coordination and leg muscles.
2. Get off one stop earlier
If you use the bus or the subway get of one stop earlier. This already has a lot of effect and you notice it very fast
3. Put the unhealthy snacks far away and bring fruits and vegetables close to you.
Use your the inner pig dog. If you love chips but you do not have them at home you are undecided. But if you know: The chips are there. Unfortunately, far away (maybe in the basement or in the remotest room) you are relaxed. But you lie relaxed on the sofa, see a movie and do not want to get up. But you want to eat something or have a snack. You will often decide to take something else just because it is closer than getting up and walking to the kitchen.
4. Use stairs rather than elevator
It´s more easy than you expect. At least the last flor you can try to walk yourself. If you just doing this you improove a lot as well.
All this little things help you to get into it step by step. From my personal point of view it´s always better walk or exercise a little bit than start highly motivated and stop after a short time.
By the way: Whats with your new year resolutions?
Thank you for reading my short article and i hope you find your way of exercise…
If you need more support ot ideas, don´t hesitate to sent me a message.
I´m Kai Markus Xiong, extreme athlete, keynote speaker and the founder of the runmysilkroad.com run to breakdown prejudice initiative supported by UNWTO, senator chancellery of free and hanseatic city hamburg and with Olaf Scholz as honored patron.
Right now i prepare myself for the Haspa Hamburg Marathon in April.