Apps and rewards to increase physical activity and protect your heart

Something, perhaps, has also changed. Hopefully for the better. But it remains a reality that needs reflection. More than four out of ten deaths in Italy are due to cardiovascular diseases. In the front row are heart attacks and cerebral strokes.
This is stated in the 2020 Eurostat report, which indicates that the “record” of deaths from these causes belongs to Bulgaria, with over six out of ten deaths.

Regardless of the figures, in any case, the issue is being relaunched from many quartersappeal for prevention. Because it is bad habits and unhealthy lifestyles that put the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart, brain and the rest of the body at risk. The body weight control, in a country that sees more and more overweight people, appears fundamental. And you don't just have to think about constantly dieting. It is advisable to follow the dictates ofMediterranean dietremembering however that the “consumption” of calories through movement also matters a lot.

But how you can overcome sedentary lifestyle? Help can come from apps and incentives, which can be purely economic or perhaps even just capable of stimulating competition, such as games. However, it is important to have one measurement system. Because it is very important to perceive, in terms of the journey, how you are improving. And have that “gentle push” that can allow you to progress with the movement. The importance of these is highlighted by research appearing in Circulation, supported by the National Institutes of Health, carried out on adults at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

How your perspective changes thanks to physical activity

In summary, the research shows that those who have received specific requests, the better through daily reminders and incentives, after a year he increased his daily walking quota by more than 1500 steps, starting on average from around 5000 steps. Even a year and six months after the start of this experiment, however, many people continued to move with the same daily activity.

In summary, what does all this mean? According to research with this increase in physical activitywhich doesn't exactly seem unsustainable but only the result of a minimum effort, the risk of premature death in general can be reduced by 6%. and it drops by 10% if you consider the risk of death for cardiovascular diseases.
Not only. The research, coordinated by Alexander C. Fanaroff, demonstrates that psychologically we need immediate stimuli. Therefore, in terms of convincing people to change their lifestyles, it is not of much use to focus on long-term health. Better, much better, to make the person immediately perceive the gain in terms of health.

In order, in the four groups of subjects who received the “pedometer” to evaluate their physical activity and improve it, the formula with financial incentives or a prize scoring growing (perhaps even with the help of a family member or friend) was found to be valid. But also a simple one memorandum daily was useful. In any case, the combination of the latter with incentive mechanisms offered the best results. The study, which ran for five years, followed over 1,000 people at high cardiovascular risk. Participants received a wearable fitness tracker, which connected to an online health portal and allowed researchers to tally baseline daily step counts. Participants then set a goal to increase their daily steps by 33%, 40%, 50%, or any amount greater than 1,500 steps from their starting point. Before the study began, participants in all groups averaged about 5,000 daily steps. After 12 months, they increased their daily step counts by more than 1,500, with clear differences between one group and another.

The balance between income and expenditure

The human body is like a perfect scale, where inputs and outputs should be almost equal. Unfortunately, however, in those who choose the path of sedentary lifestyle the budget is altered, with a lower energy consumption and therefore with greater ease inaccumulation of fat in the body. In reality, the lack of physical activity does not favor overweight and obesity only due to an “input-expense” cost of the body, but also through other factors, such as modification of psychological conditions of the individual.
Typically, between 60 and 80 percent of the calories the body consumes daily are lost in the so-called resting metabolism. In this phase, however, the body uses some already available substances to produce energy, such as glucose or fatty acids. However, when physical activity is carried out (which affects the global caloric balance by 15-20 percent) and prolonged muscular work, the body needs a “supplement” of energy, which it draws from fat deposits cwhich are found in lipid cells. For this reason, if you practice little physical activity it is extremely difficult to “consume” excess fat.

Movement is a “medicine” that protects the heart

In short, the challenge to a sedentary lifestyle must be faced. If gym, running, swimming pool, cycling and more are fine for those who are fitter, the “lazy” must learn to consider thephysical activity like a real drug. And not just for the heart. Some time ago, according to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, in Italy, a sedentary lifestyle was considered the cause of 9 percent of cardiovascular diseases, 11 percent of type 2 diabetes cases, and 16 percent of cancer cases. breast cancer, 16 percent of colon cancer cases and 15 percent of premature death cases.
So, physical activity it is protective and helps us live longer, reducing stress and increasing individual well-being. And don't forget that you can also be physically active in other ways, changing the way you behave during everyday life, thanks to work activity, active transport (walking, cycling, climbing stairs without using your lift), to free time activities, through games and dance.

How much and how to move?

Having said that for everyone the fitness path must be identified based on the state of health, together with the doctor, we remember that the World Health Organization some time ago defined the physical activity levels recommended for three age groups: young people (5-17 years), adults (18-64 years) and elderly (≥65 years).

  • for children and teenagers (5-17 years): at least 60 minutes a day of moderate-vigorous activity, including at least 3 times a week strength exercises, which may consist of movement games or sports activities;
  • for adults (18-64 years): at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (or equivalent combinations of the two) per week;
  • for elderly people (≥65 years): the instructions are the same as for adults, with the warning to also carry out balance-oriented activities to prevent falls.

Anyone who is unable to fully follow the recommendations must do so physical activity at least 3 times a week and adopt an active lifestyle suited to your conditions.