More exercise: ’30 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but we’re not reaching this standard ‘| NOW

Every week Edwin de Vaal (48), general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or suspicious question from his practice. This week it says: Why do we need to exercise more? And how do you do that?

Why is exercise so important?

“Exercise is an important part of the fight against obesity, a major risk factor for all kinds of diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Those who are overweight are at greater risk of getting sick and dying sooner. Especially now.” During the corona pandemic it is important to keep our weight under control and therefore exercise enough. “


“We have seen over the past few months that obese people have poorer prognoses for COVID-19 infection. They often have more serious complications and a greater likelihood of ICU admission and death than lean people.”

“Man is naturally lazy. Genetically, we are just like our ancestors who lived in caves when it was important not to waste energy. “

Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner

How much should we move?

“The health council advises exercising at least 30 minutes a day. That is not necessary immediately. Three ten minutes is fine too. That doesn’t seem like much, but a lot of people don’t reach this standard. Especially now that we’re all from too Work from home. “

How is it possible that we move too little en masse?

“Humans are naturally ‘lazy’. Genetically, we are just like our ancestors who lived in caves. At the time, food was scarce. You never knew when you would have your next meal. So it was important to in between come the scarce meal by wasting as little energy as possible. “

“This mechanism is still there: we prefer to take the elevator than the stairs. This is problematic these days because energy-rich foods are ubiquitous. We use more energy than we burn. That makes us fat and sick.”

How can I train more?

“First, when we are aware of the mechanism that we’d rather be lazy than tired. It takes willpower to get up from the couch and move. It takes persistence because more movement doesn’t do anything right away, except for a red head- and muscle pain. Only in the long run will you notice that you are getting more energy, getting leaner and feeling better. “

Create new routines. Usually, after dinner, instead of falling on the couch in front of the TV, take a walk. “

Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner

Do I really have to go to the gym?

“Certainly not! Bicycling or walking is exercise too. People who suddenly run or go to the gym five times a week usually cannot keep up. So please do something you enjoy. Try to make exercise a part of your lifestyle.” do. . “

“Make small adjustments: take the bike instead of the car. Or park a little further from your destination and walk the last part. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or do you combine: Do you live on the ninth floor? Take.” You lift up to the seventh floor and go the last two. “

Do you have any other tips to train more?

“Do it with others on a team or with a sports partner, if necessary, with the guidance of a trainer. When it rains, canceling is a little more difficult when a running partner or trainer is waiting for you. Social pressure is a good incentive. And create new routines. Instead of sitting on the couch in front of the television after dinner, take a walk around the neighborhood. “