Fit and healthy with Ingo Froböse
Only 2 times every 10 days! Fitness Pope tells how to prevent common diseases
Friday, April 29, 2022 | 13:45
How healthy are Germans? In what direction is our society developing in this sense and how can we guarantee quality of life in old age?
A little detour to the past
The long waves of economic development began around 1800 with the steam engine and the textile industry. The first allowed people to go to other places. In the second called Kondratiev, the focus was on the railway and, in this context, mass transportation. The third was on electrical engineering and mass consumption. The fourth Kondratiev is the one that interests us today in sports science. It deals with the theme of the automobile industry and individual mobility and is set around 1954.
Before the automobile entered their lives, people walked many hours a day, not for fun, but because long commutes required them to do so. If someone had told them at night that the gym was still waiting for them, they would most likely have looked at the person in disbelief. Because at that time people mainly worked physically anyway and could show a functional metabolism and high energy consumption.
However, the turning point came with cars and televisions: The demands of humans have changed in such a way that cancer and cardiovascular diseases, as well as diabetes, which were almost unknown before, suddenly appeared. Because they could not be properly named or explained, they were called diseases of civilization. Today we know better and talk about lifestyle diseases. Because it is the lifestyle that has changed and is the cause of this type of disease.
Along with this change, we saw an initial decrease in muscularity, which continued to decrease with the start of the fifth Kondratiev, Technology.
The health of the general population is in decline
We are now writing the year 2022, in which, unfortunately, there is less and less to sweeten. According to the DKV 2021 report, only nine percent of the German population maintains a healthy, sensible lifestyle, complete with sufficient physical activity and training.
The level of inactivity that we have been experiencing in recent years is reaching new highs. Young people in their 20s and 30s sit ten and a half hours a day, and the average for the entire population is hardly better at eight and a half hours. To make matters worse, long periods of sitting with an occasional hour of exercise in the evening cannot be compensated for. Not to mention that sufficient training effects could be achieved on the muscles and the cardiovascular system. This, in turn, results in lifestyle-related diseases.
One of the biggest epidemics of our time, for which there is unfortunately hardly any response, is type 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, we will have to deal more and more with degenerative changes in our bone system, such as osteoarthritis. But mental illnesses are also favored. Due to inactivity, we lack our motor valve, which makes us fall into a psychophysical imbalance.
In addition, there are dementia and Alzheimer’s, two classic phenomena of our aging society and that, like the rest of the diseases mentioned above, could be curbed with the help of specific training. Physically active people have significantly higher protein synthesis, which promotes brain cell regeneration. Last but not least, we know from the prevalence of cancer that strength training helps fight certain cancers or prevent them from occurring in the first place.
In short: I know of no disease that does not benefit from physical activity and muscle training. Muscles are our best medicine, our source of energy and the engine for our health. And perhaps the biggest advantage: it is always available to us.
Without muscle training, we not only look old in old age
That’s the theory. However, we know from practice that the advantages of a well-trained musculature have not yet reached our society. When we think of muscle training, old clichés like “big biceps but no brains” and images like that of a bloated bodybuilder. The great challenge of our time is to change these associations in people’s minds and make it clear to them that muscles are our organ of success. Basically, they are the basis of everything that makes up our health.
In order to function at all, we need a minimal amount of muscle mass. Our muscles thrive on being irritated and stimulated. It is precisely this organ that depends on the success of what we put into it. It reacts dynamically to stimuli at any age and adapts positively. On the other hand, this also means that the muscles disappear when not in use. And that is the great problem that we have to counteract in order to guarantee the quality of life in old age. If you don’t stop the decline of your muscles, you will no longer enjoy a pleasant life in the future, but will end up needing care like one in two men and one in three women in four.
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Planting the “Big Why” in people’s minds
It’s not about teaching people what to do (exercise) and how to do it (go to the gym). It’s more about why. Why do I need to train my muscles? What effects do I achieve with it? Why do I counter lifestyle diseases with muscle training? Only when everyone has understood this will we achieve the paradigm shift that is needed to create a healthier society. The experts at Allianz für Gesundheit and I work on this every day together with the Research Institute for Prevention Training (FIT Prevention).
The good news: it’s never too late for muscle training
Perhaps you have already thought the following at one time or another: “Now I start with muscle training? I’m too old for that.” Or: “I lost the hops and malt a long time ago.” If you recognize yourself, everything is clear here: Even in old age, our muscles are able to adapt and are sensitive to stimuli.
But: our society moves quickly, we don’t have time to make up for a lack of stress with exercise alone. Instead, what we need is muscle-specific training. Even if we only invest in muscle training twice every two to ten days, we increase our performance and, as a result, our quality of life.
Now imagine if you had 240 hours and only had to spend a total of one to three hours on your training in that span, you would already be able to eliminate most lifestyle diseases. If we invest in muscle training twice a week or at least twice every ten days, we increase our performance and, consequently, our quality of life. Do you have to think about investing this time? Get started today. Health requires training. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Use it or lose it: muscle loss
As already described, nothing superfluous exists in nature. Consequently, from the point of view of the organism, there is no reason to take good care of the muscles that are not used and keep them alive. Consequently, the proteins actin and myosin, and thus the muscles themselves, are broken down into the sarcomeres. Too little muscle has a negative effect on the entire organism. Our large white muscle fibers are particularly affected by muscle atrophy if we don’t do much more than go about our daily lives. The little red fibers are happy with that, while the white ones need much stronger stimuli and much more from a lot of exercise or sport. If these stimuli are missing, the body uses the space freed up by the breakdown of muscle proteins as an energy store and creates fat deposits there. Fortunately, this process can be reversed. It’s best not to let it get that far in the first place.
This is how you train your muscles in everyday life.
- Jumping: the fast daily training
Jump or jump from time to time in daily life. For example the last step, because there are stairs everywhere. With this you train your white muscle fibers on the way. If you do 40 jumps throughout the day, you will continue to stimulate your circulation and oxygenate your brain.
- Training away from sarcopenia
As we age, the body breaks down motor units. However, since these are essential for the transmission of stimuli, it becomes more difficult to control the muscles and sarcopenia develops, in which strength and speed deteriorate drastically. The good news: sarcopenia can be counteracted with proper physical activity: muscles can be trained at any age and positively adapted even at an older age. In this case, however, it must be a special training. You can only reach the strong white fibers through training stimuli that require high or maximum loads, that is, maximum effort. So choose your weights and intensities so you can only do a few reps (maximum three to six per set). The desired effect sets in quickly.