Exercise as a prescription
Posted in Nutrition
Dr. Alessandro Lombardi – sports physician – nutritionist
Dr. Annalisa Olivotti – biologist, specializing in general pathology
Since 2005, food scientists have been placing exercise at the base of “MY PIRAMIDS” (the new food pyramid). The media continues its daily campaign to encourage people of all ages to take adequate physical activity and to stress the importance of this, combined with good nutrition, as essential tools for leading a life of well-being.
Sedentary lifestyle and hypokinesia are risk factors for many diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death in Western countries. Everybody talks, writes, recommends physical activity, but nobody suggests prescriptive schemes.
Physical activity has to be prescribed based on the physical and pathological condition of the subject; you have to come up with a personalized prescription. Personalized indications are often difficult, but we cannot forget some general recommendations that must address proper physical activity.
When outlining some of the concepts, we remind you that physical exercise is divided into
Aerobic – the use of energy derived from metabolism with oxygen in the presence of Anaerobic – the use of energy derived from metabolism without oxygen.
Anaerobic metabolism can be further divided into
Lactacid (with lactic acid production) if exercise exceeds one minute
Lactic acid (without lactic acid formation) if exercise lasts less than one minute
So let’s consider aerobic activities: walking, running or cycling. These activities use ATP as energy, resulting from the metabolism of fats, proteins, sugars. In the presence of oxygen we can “burn” everything, the physique of these athletes does not need large energy reserves; in fact, the runner, marathoner, cyclist has a light physique with little muscle.
Instead, let’s consider anaerobic activity, both lactacid and alactacid: sprinters, pitchers, weightlifters. These use energy that comes from muscle glycogen stores or phosphocreatine deposits; such athletes will need a lot of muscle development.
Recall that despite the ongoing classifications in medicine, there are no absolutes, and even in this case there is no purely aerobic sport, which is reflected in the fact that, for example, a runner who wants to outperform an opponent increases the effort, in which case aerobic activity becomes anaerobic.
When prescribing physical exercise, we must keep in mind a number of factors
- Psycho-physical conditions
- Stress training conditions
- Metabolic conditions (diabetes, dyslipidemia, hyperuricemia)
- Heart and blood pressure conditions
- Respiratory conditions
- Any joint adjustments
Physical exercise must have a training purpose, so it must be programmed with incremental increments, different for each subject based on their conditions The young person must do the activity with a minimum of three sessions per week, they can do any discipline if they undergo a fitness test, even if this is not required by law;
The adult must know that if he/she chooses to engage in aerobic activity (walking, running, cycling), this must be done daily to have a training effect and in conjunction with a proper diet to achieve weight loss and normalization of hyperglycemia or dyslipidemia.
The increase in metabolism only occurs during periods of physical activity up to several hours later.
For those who choose to engage in anaerobic or mixed activity (free body gymnastics with natural weights, swimming, weight lifting), keep in mind that muscle development leads to an increase in basal metabolism and this type of activity will have a training effect even with three weekly workouts.