THE PYRAMID OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong: The pyramid of physical activity shows us in a graphic way and at a first glance, the way in which to combine the different types and domains of Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong to achieve an active and healthy lifestyle.
The base refers to the Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong that we are interested in doing in our day today. This affects how we move in our work, in our daily activities, on the move, and in our free time. It is from my harvest, but it seems appropriate to include the state of maximum inactivity, sleep, in this step. Sleeping at least 7 hours every day not only affects our health very favorably for many reasons, but it will also make us recover and better assimilate our exercise sessions.
In the second step are the aerobic activities themselves and that meet the definition of physical exercise. The recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine and the WHO to do 150-300 min of moderate-intensity exercise or 75-150 min of high-intensity exercise per week for a minimum of 3 days per week or a combination of both fits into this step. intensities and times. Certain recreational sports are valid to achieve these objectives (racket or team sports for example).
The third step refers to general muscle-strengthening exercises that should be performed at least 2 days a week and that ideally combine flexibility exercises.
The top of the pyramid refers to all those behaviors that we should avoid as far as possible and that, together, constitute a sedentary lifestyle. I get up in the morning, have breakfast, take a shower and get dressed. I get into the elevator. I go out in the garage. I drive to the garage from work. I take the elevator up to the office. I click for 8 hours to make the reverse trip home and plug in the TV until dinner time. The weekend sports (on TV) and a getaway to the mall.
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Physical activity pyramid: at what level are you?
Physical exercise has been revealed as one of the essential factors to prevent diseases and enjoy good health, especially if we take into account the uncertainty generated by SARS-CoV-2.
Physical exercise is essential at any age and it is never too late to include it among those essential habits that determine whether ours is a healthy lifestyle. The scientific evidence that supports the practice of Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong is overwhelming and it is becoming unjustifiable and incomprehensible to continue subscribing to a sedentary lifestyle.
In general, doing sport in any of its modalities, among other benefits, reduces the risk of suffering from different diseases, improves bone and functional health, enhances aspects such as balance, coordination, or mobility, helps to maintain caloric balance and a healthy weight and supports mental health, reduces the risk of depression and helps manage stress.
But there is also the circumstance that with the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, around which there is still a lot of uncertainty and its biological mechanisms are not fully understood, physical exercise is proving to be an essential defensive tool: a recent investigation concludes that people with medium or high physical capacity have half the risk of hospitalization for COVID-19.
And is that regular physical exercise, together with other important aspects such as diet, rest or stress management, decisively affects our immune system and the ability to respond to infections such as that caused by SARS-Cov -two.
Pyramid of physical activity
Marcos Vazquez, the creator of the Fitness Revolutionary blog, shares an interesting classification that can give us an idea of where we are and what we can do to improve. ” There is a lot of talk about nutritional pyramids, but this concept could also be applied to different types of physical activity,” he explains.
- “At the base should be low intensity and long-duration activities. Our ancestors spent much of the day on the move, moving from one place to another. The main recommendation would be to try to walk more, use the stairs more and less the elevator, and spend less time sitting. It would also be advisable to incorporate low-intensity mobility work ”.
- “At the next level would be shorter and higher intensity activities. We are already talking about training, and within this training, I would highlight the work with the body itself. Squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and similar exercises should be the foundation, simulating our natural movement patterns. Adding some aerobic session will also enhance our global health ”.
- “At the top of the pyramid would be activities of short duration but maximum intensity, such as sprinting or lifting weights that require our maximum effort. These stimuli generate great benefits, but they also pose great stress. They are a powerful medicine but we must take it in the right dose.
BODY RESPONSE TO PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
The body’s responses to Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong are the changes that occur in order to carry out physical work, which from an evolutionary perspective translate into survival (flight and hunting) and, from a playful and social point of view, into sports performance.
During and even before we start exercising, our brain prepares to act. The resting animal functions begin to turn off and the action animal functions begin. They improve the level of alertness and the predisposition to act. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are released, first through the nervous system, and then from the adrenal gland. In addition to these, other chemical mediators such as cortisol, testosterone, growth hormone, and others also participate, which regulate the functions of different organs and coordinate responses when we engage in Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong.
We are going to mention just a few of them, focusing on those that are relevant to the cardiac patient.
At the respiratory level , ventilation progressively increases, first due to a greater depth of breaths and then due to an increase in respiratory rate. This allows us to extract more oxygen from the air for the muscles that are working and eliminate the excess CO2 that is being produced as a result of combustion and maintaining the pH of the blood.
The total amount of circulating blood increases slightly when the spleen contracts, pouring part of its contents into the circulatory stream.
The arteries of the different organs contract or relax to increase the amount of blood and oxygen in the muscles without affecting the cerebral and coronary flow. In general, the arteries of the muscles that carry out the work are dilated and those of the muscles that are at rest, those of the digestive system, the kidneys and the skin contract. The end result is a decrease in resistance in the arterial circulation. Venous return also increases, due to the circulation of the blood itself, due to the compression of the muscles that pass through it and due to the suction of the heart.
At the cardiac level, both the force with which the heart contracts and the heart rate increase. The increase in the force of contraction translates into an increase in the amount of blood that is pumped with each heartbeat (from about 75 ml at rest to more than 150 ml under intense efforts). This, together with the increase in heart rate, serves to increase the volume of blood circulating through the body in one minute, which can go from about 5 liters at rest to 30 liters at maximum efforts. I want to make a point to clarify that the resting heart rate and the maximum heart rate can vary a lot from one person to another without meaning that something is wrong.
This increase in the muscular activity of the heart is accompanied by an increase in the need for oxygen of the heart muscle itself and, therefore, of the flow of blood through the coronary arteries. In people with coronary obstructions, this increased flow is not possible and there is a lack of irrigation from certain intensities that can lead to angina pectoris, fatigue or malignant arrhythmias.
That is why when we do a stress test, we see how the heart rate and respiration accelerate and how the systolic blood pressure (the high) increases without an increase in the diastolic blood pressure (the low) as the intensity of work increases. and the feeling of effort. The effect will be greater the more muscles used to do an exercise.
Strength exercises are somewhat different. In this case, the arteries that carry blood to the muscles that perform the work, instead of dilating, are compressed by the muscle itself during muscle contraction. The pounding of the heart against the compressed arteries causes both systolic and diastolic BP to rise dramatically from certain work intensities. The HR increases but in a very variable way and depending on how we do the exercise (speed of execution of the gesture, rhythm, muscle mass involved, etc). Nor does venous return increase in the same way as in predominantly dynamic exercises.
In general, physical effort has an antithrombotic effect but from certain intensities, the thrombogenicity of the blood increases in anticipation of possible traumatic consequences during the most intense efforts. This is important in heart disease patients because increased thrombogenicity, together with dehydration, can favor the formation of thrombi in predisposed individuals. In addition, dehydration and sudden changes in electrolyte concentrations and increased temperature and stress hormones that occur with Where on the physical activity pyramid do lifestyle activities belong can also contribute to the development of ventricular arrhythmias.
The medication commonly used in patients with heart disease interferes with these responses:
Beta-blockers work by reducing the heart rate and the force of contraction of the heart among other effects and, by limiting these responses, they can be poorly tolerated by the patient when exercising. Vasodilators modify vascular responses by helping to control blood pressure, but in the same way, they can worsen the efficiency of vascular responses. Other antihypertensives modify the concentration of electrolytes and can add to dehydration and promote its complications. Anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents play a protective role when exercise increases blood thrombogenicity but increases the risk of bleeding complications with trauma. Lastly, statins interfere with exertional intracellular metabolism and can cause muscle discomfort.
In general, the practice of exercise is very safe but for all that has been said so far, heart disease patients must be counseled before starting an exercise program.