Without physical activity you are more fragile, you lose control over weight and you risk muscle hypotrophy. Expert advice for burning calories even at home
We're at home. The advice is valid for everyone, even for those who are used to wearing overalls, putting on their shoes and in any case keeping fit, in the gym, in the swimming pool or outdoors. In this period it is not possible but this does not mean letting go of muscles and joints to a "dolce far niente" which certainly is not positive for well-being.
How to behave then? Here are the tips of Michelangelo Giampietro, specialist in sports medicine and teacher at the CONI sports school in Rome.
What if we don't move
"Before talking about physical well-being, I think it is important to consider the psychological aspect of the lack of physical activity, especially in those who train regularly" – explains Giampietro.
"Obviously those who do regular activities, from running to the gym, also derive an euphoric action from this that helps to face the day in a positive way. When you move, in fact, the catecholamines increase (adrenaline and noradrenaline) and therefore you feel more ready to react to the events of every day ".
At this stage, also due to the anxieties related to the news related to coronavirus infection, obtaining this repeated stimulus, day after day, obviously is not possible. And therefore you can feel more fragile and irritable, also considering that lacking regular physical activity, which must always be adapted to the age and potential of the organism, also reduces the level of endorphins. These compounds are endogenous opioids whose reduction can lead to greater irritability and a tendency to a worse mood.
On the physical front, in any case, the problems appear to be linked to the possible lack of control of body weight, due to the evident decrease in caloric expenditure related to movements, and to the hypotrophy of the muscles, or to a possible drop in volume.
"This phenomenon, to which the possible retention of liquids must be added especially for women, becomes the factor to be fought for those who are trained – continues the expert. Unfortunately, one does not realize how much the muscles can decrease in volume, precisely due to lack of training. But there is still the possibility to face this situation, for this period in which social distancing is required and therefore the need to stay at home without being able to do the exercises that normally characterize our days ".
Each act consumes calories
Neat. What does this abbreviation mean? In technical terms, the acronym derives from English and stands for "Non Exercise Active Thermogenesis". And it is on this aspect that we must focus, when we find ourselves enclosed within four walls, to make a pinch of movement anyway. Research also says so.
“In practice, every movement that takes place within the home can stimulate this phenomenon, which in any case increases the calorie expenditure – reports Giampietro. It is very good to do apparently trivial activities with particular "grit", such as forced cleaning of the apartment or redecorating bedrooms. But even when sitting, perhaps in front of the computer, it is useful to keep the leg muscles active by repeatedly crossing and crossing the legs or even gesturing while speaking ".
This is not a big effort, of course, but it can still be useful in terms of calorie consumption. Don't believe it? Just think that, on average, cooking a lunch for half an hour consumes about 50 calories, making the bed for a similar time even leads to 150 calories, activating all the muscles of the trunk and arms and cleaning the floors with heat it means eliminating about 120 calories. More than those that, for example, are consumed in a period of equal duration dedicated to ballroom dancing.
And then, go ahead to the home gym
"Especially for, we can make the house become a sort of small gym – continues the expert. Obviously, those who have a treadmill or an exercise bike can easily program the activity based on what they would have done outdoors. But also for others there is a way to keep your muscles in training. "
The expert continues: "For the arms, for example, you can do" weights "simply by lifting the packs of six or four of the bottles of water, which are perhaps" resting "in the closet. And you still need to focus on exercises that keep your groups in shape or improve their activity by following three directions: stretching, flexibility and coordination. "
In this sense, the advice is to take steps to take small steps with a barbell and use rubber bands that can increase muscle effort, to be adapted to different bundles, as part of a program that engages at least half an hour every day. The barbell can be represented precisely by water bottles, if you do not have customized tools.
"Above all, we must not forget the value of simple exercises that can still have a positive action both on the cardiovascular system and on the muscles – points out Giampietro. I refer, for example, to jumping rope, at a rate to be assessed on the basis of resistance, or running on the spot or push-ups: without doing like the "Marines", you can also lean against a wall or a piece of furniture and do push-ups involving the arms, the back and the legs ".
A further tip: organize yourself with the condominiums so that there is no one along the stairs of the building and then take a few minutes to make the internal stairs at good speed, maybe even two by two, several times. It is a simple exercise, to be done for a few minutes, which leads to a strengthening of the muscle bundles of the legs and calves, especially if you add "light" weights to the effort.
“One last recommendation: thanks to computer technology, today everyone can have programs, games or training systems remotely available on their TV or PC, which can be easily followed by modulating them for the various family members based on age and resistance – concludes Giampietro. Instead of dedicating yourself only to watching a film or a program, with the consequent "couch syndrome" try to cut out a space for dancing or targeted physical paths to be done together. And for those who live as a couple, before going to bed, don't forget the usefulness of two-person exercises, easily available on the web. It is a way to wish you a good night by helping muscle well-being ”.