Too little exercise is harmful to humans. This insight is part of general education today and is hardly doubted by anyone. But not every movement and activity is healthy for everyone. Healthy sport becomes unhealthy if you overdo it. Because sport, just like medicine, can even make you sick if it is done incorrectly or too intensively.
Strength, circulation, coordination
Sport trains body and mind in many ways. It affects the strength of the various muscles, the cardiovascular system, intelligence and the psyche. All these areas of the healthy person can benefit from the right sport and suffer from wrong sport.
Sport is changing!
Sports science and medicine are constantly evolving. That’s why today some sports exercises are frowned upon, which were highly praised 20 years ago. Let’s take sit-ups as an example: from our grandfathers or parents, many of us still know the folding knife-like version, in which the entire upper body was lifted off the floor and led to the knees.
Anyone who performs sit-ups in the old way today will shake their heads and will soon have back problems in the lumbar spine and chest area. The healthy sit-up execution only lifts your shoulders off the ground. The back from the thoracic vertebrae down remains on the ground. This optimizes the effect on the abdominal muscles and reduces loads on the spine.
The same applies to squats. A few years ago, the sports teacher stood straight in front of his students, stretched out his arms and bent his legs with geometric precision, but today this is considered the stark opposite of healthy sport: because the old squat exercise is poison for the knees and hips, and also strengthens only a few muscles. The execution is much better if it is springy, shoulder-width and bent arms, similar to a skier.
Setting priorities before choosing a sport
- Motivation & Preferences
- Medical history
- Available free time
- Costs and effort
1. Motivation & Preferences
First of all, you should choose a sport that you really want to do. Because sport is only healthy if it does not mean agony to exercise it. Healthy sport should therefore integrate effortlessly into life and everyday life.
Healthy sports are supposed to be fun, and for a long time. If at some point the inevitable low point comes and motivation disappears, then even the healthiest sport becomes unhealthy stress. Suddenly, old and unhealthy patterns of behavior creep in. The sport is hung up for weeks and months. If you are not motivated enough, then this is where the good intention ends.
Our tip: If you recognize a low motivation point in time, you can consciously decide on a break of predetermined duration. Just take 3 weeks off from sports, sleep in instead of exercising, and pamper yourself without regrets and stress! After this break, start fresh with your healthy sport on a previously established day. You will see that the joy returns completely!
2. The medical history – or better: the state of health
Everyone is different. Some are quickly out of breath, some have malpositions, others have allergies or risk factors. It is important to choose a sport that does not negatively affect such factors. Typical “contraindications” in the choice of a sport are…
- Pre-existing conditions
- Signs of wear
3. Free time
Some people decide to go to the gym 3x a week – and give up after two weeks. As a beginner, you sometimes underestimate the time required. Therefore, think about how many hours you want to spend on a sport.
In addition to the actual exercises, set-up times, travel and hygiene are added. To stay with the example of the gym, it is therefore necessary to plan for 3x training per week:
- 1/2 hour equipment training
- 1/2 hour circulatory training
- 1/2 hour journey + change
- 1/2 hour shower, change, drive home.
The result is 12 x 2 = 24 hours of time spent per month. Maintaining this requires a very high level of motivation and discipline. Therefore, it is especially advisable for beginners to start small. For sports once a week, our ambitious gym member only has to plan 8 hours a month and thus already achieves a lot of good for health and fitness.
4. Costs and effort
In addition to the time that every athlete has to plan, there are still costs and efforts. Sportswear and sports accessories, travel expenses, the procurement of information, instructions and accessories as well as the booking of training sessions and coaches… Sports vary greatly in cost and effort.
Thus, the cost of a jogger starts with a good pair of sneakers and some running clothes. The cost of a surf course and a surfboard is significantly higher. The longer and more intensively a sport is performed, the higher the costs are due to the fact that the material wears out more. So plan for this factor so that your sport does not become a bottomless pit.
5. Objectives of sport
Sport can be linked to different goals. Typical objectives are…
- Improve overall fitness
- Weight loss
- Getting stronger / building strength
- Improve posture
- Become more beautiful / shape the body
- Winning and breaking records
- Conviviality and socializing
- Preventing diseases
- Improve dexterity
- Positive influence on psyche or self-esteem
- Learn something new
- Cultivating a culture (e.g. traditional archery)
- Being able to defend yourself
The better the athlete knows his or her objectives, the more targeted and successful he or she can decide on a sport. There are also big differences in performance targets. Some want to win a marathon or a title, others just want to be a little fitter and healthier.
It is now clear that the healthiest sports per se do not exist. As with all habits and activities, it depends on the person and personality that practices them.
Nevertheless, we can list some fundamentally healthier sports. They are characterized by the use of the whole body. In addition, they protect the joints and can be dosed well. Beginners can start small and improve in the sport. Our top 3 healthy sports are:
Swimming: Keeps you fit and healthy
Swimming challenges the whole body. All muscles from the hands to the feet are in motion when swimming. For beginners, swimming is therefore very strenuous. The training effect for muscles, heart, breathing and vessels is correspondingly large. The monotonous, rhythmic swimming movement also has a regulating effect on the mind, resembling meditation in experienced permanent swimmers.
The float’s body, which moves in the water, is perfectly protected against shocks, so that problems of the joints and ligaments do not arise suddenly. Through the complete use of the body, swimmers develop a well-supporting core muscles, which relieve the spine in everyday life and prevent many other civilization diseases.
Swimming in cold water pools or in the great outdoors has an even more positive effect on the blood circulation and temperature regulation of the skin, thereby strengthening the immune system and making it more resistant to germs in the environment.
Yoga: Creates inner balance
This Far Eastern meditation is also incredibly healthy for the body. The slowly executed movements train coordination and activate muscles that are rarely used in Western everyday life. By holding yoga postures, the body develops strength and endurance, the yoga student builds a healthy tension and a healthy balance between body and mind.
Yoga also increases mobility and thus reduces the risk of injury in the event of falls, accidents or sudden movements.
For women, yoga is popular not least because of the training of the supporting muscles. The supporting apparatus in the abdomen and pelvis is strengthened, which has special advantages for women’s health. Because it offers security against pregnancy-related prolapse or age-related incontinence. But even for men of all ages, yoga is a very gentle and fulfilling sport that can improve well-being in all areas.
Yoga – like all holistic sports – can also contribute to tightening the skin and improving posture in the shoulders and back, which in turn can prevent a herniated disc.
Rowing: Strengthens the whole body
Not everyone has a rowing boat, but that’s not necessary. Because rowing machines are available in a variety of designs for every budget. They can be set up at home to save space and can also be operated intuitively by beginners with a little practice.
The typical rowing movement is carried out with rowing machines on a movable carriage. In the first section of the movement, the athlete pushes off with his legs, which trains the legs from the calves to the front thigh to the gluteus maximus, the large gluteal muscle or colloquially: the buttocks.
In the second step, the rower pulls the oars towards him, first with outstretched arms, then bent with the biceps and finally with the back muscles until the elbows are led sideways past the trunk. Then the whole body extends forward, buttocks and sledges slide forward and the athlete gets out to the next move.
The movement in rowing is complex, the whole body is put into action. The circulation and lungs are activated to provide enough oxygen and nutrients for the many muscles involved. All this, together with the regular, rhythmic, thought- and coordination-promoting execution of the rowing exercise, makes rowing our healthy sport number three.