Is sport always good for health?

Practicing regular physical activity has many benefits, both for the body and the mind. But in some cases, sport can also have adverse effects on health. Explanations with Mehdi Dergaoui, sports coach, dietitian and founder of Zones Sport Studio (Paris, 11th).

Sport is beneficial in several ways. Physical exercise is an essential determinant of energy expenditure, so it is fundamental for balance and weight control 1.

In addition, studies have shown that the practice of regular physical activity helps prevent the risk of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, asthma or heart failure. 2. Sport also has an impact on morale. By stimulating the production of endorphins, physical activity would have effects equivalent to antidepressants. In addition, neuroscientists from the University of Geneva (Unige) have established that an intensive physical exercise session as short as fifteen minutes of cycling improves memory. 3 and promotes oxygenation of the brain.

However, inappropriate activity or certain excesses can cause lesions, injuries or other adverse health consequences. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all the conditions are met to practice your sport optimally and without risk according to your physical condition and your needs.

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Best practices to adopt to optimize your session

Fit for sports? Contraindications are rare, and they are most often temporary. They concern the cases in which sport could aggravate the situation , explains sports coach and dietitian Mehdi Dergaoui. After childbirth, for example, sport is not recommended to avoid organ descent and urinary leakage. Young mothers must therefore wait for the green light from their doctor and complete their perineal rehabilitation before resuming physical activity. Following a long period of inactivity, recovery must be gradual. The same goes for people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases or are overweight. If in doubt, do not hesitate to seek the advice of a doctor or a sports coach.

Choose your discipline

It all depends on your goals , says the coach. Walking and swimming are recommended to get moving again without risk. Running, cycling, fitness, cross training and HIIT sessions are recommended to lose fat. Yoga allows you to gain strength. Those looking to build muscle mass will opt for bodyweight or machine weight training, depending on the desired outcome. In addition, taking the stairs, gardening or cleaning are also physical activities.

Good advice? Warming up is essential to prepare the body and mind for exercise and help prevent accidents. 4. It is also necessary to choose suitable equipment. We don’t run in city sneakers! warns the professional.

The right rhythm

Age, physical condition, goals… several factors come into play. To stay healthy, the latest physical exercise guidelines from the World Health Organization, published in 2010, recommend practicing at least two and a half hours of moderate activity per week or one and a quarter hours of vigorous endurance activity once per week, plus muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days per week 5.

If exercising regularly brings many benefits, we must not fall into excess. Sports addiction is a disease that has a name: bigorexia. ” Rest is essential for recovery and progress also underlines Mehdi Dergaoui.

The good moment

Contrary to popular belief, sport on an empty stomach does not burn more calories, on the other hand it promotes the elimination of fat. If you do sports in the morning, avoid classes that are too intense (HIIT, bootcamp), prefer gentler practices (yoga, Pilates, jogging at a moderate pace) and do not exceed one hour of training.

In the evening, it is better to favor gentle practices, because excessively intense activities promote wakefulness and delay sleep “, warns Dr Célia Mores, doctor in neurosciences.

The right diet

Whether you are an occasional sportsman or a high-level athlete, a varied and balanced diet is essential for good health. Mehdi Dergaoui’s advice? Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are richer in nutrients than foods from the other side of the world.

During an endurance practice, such as running, it is strongly recommended to supplement with nutrients (sugars) and minerals (magnesium) after forty minutes, because the body begins to draw on deep reserves. During a short session, the coach recommends drinking water before and after.

Show kindness

Whether you practice sport for well-being or performance, Mehdi Dergaoui reminds us that we must always keep a good dose of benevolence and empathy towards oneself. After a big session, congratulate yourself, you have well deserved it “he concludes.

© NHCO

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Learn more

1. For Science, “The Health Benefits of Sport,” Shari Bassuk, Timothy Church, and Joann Manson, December 27, 2013,

https://www.pourlascience.fr/sd/medecine/les-bienfaits-du-sport-sur-la-sante-7684.php

2. Inserm, “Physical activity: prevention and treatment of chronic diseases”, Éditions EDP Sciences, January 2019, 824 pages,

https://www.inserm.fr/expertise-collective/activite-physique-prevention-et-traitement- Maladies-chroniques/

3. University of Geneva, “Sport and memory go hand in hand”, September 23, 2020,

https://www.unige.ch/communication/communiques/2020/sport-et-memoire-font-bon-menage

4. Vidal, “The importance of warming up the muscles”, June 23, 2011

https://www.vidal.fr/sante/sport/corps-sport/muscles/echaussure.html

5. WHO, “Global recommendations on physical activity for health”, 2010

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