What does regular exercise do?
You need to think about how you want to train your body. Do you want to improve your endurance so that you can run longer or do you want to become stronger so that you can lift more heavy objects. Three to four days after training, you are already a little better than before. But then you have to do something again, otherwise everything goes back to as it was before.
Most people die from heart disease. But if you train your heart regularly by running in the student forest or around the tube lake, your heart will get a little bigger over time. Then it can pump more blood per heartbeat and you can run faster. Usually the heart beats about 60 times a minute. But if it has gotten bigger from regular running, then it would be enough at rest if it just beats 40 times so you save heartbeat and maybe even live longer.
Through training, you try to make all the organs in the body a little bit better and then the work becomes easier for them. And if you can soothe them every day, they will stay productive for longer. If you drive 100,000 kilometers a year, it might take three years. If you drive less and treat it with care, it can last for ten years. And so it is with the body.
Esther: Which sport is the healthiest?
A good question, you can almost answer it yourself. We said the heart had to work a little harder once or twice a week to adapt to the stress. Then you can consider which sports make the heart more efficient. Running, swimming, cycling, everything you can keep up with for a long time. Anything you can do for fifteen minutes or 20 minutes at a time is heart healthy. If you now say I do not want a bad back, then you have to strengthen the back muscles, for example by lifting weights, climbing or judo.
Alexandra: We learned in school that the heart is the size of a fist. If the heart gets bigger, does that also mean that the fist gets bigger?
In a child, the heart is a little smaller. At the age of 25, the heart has reached its maximum size. Then it’s as big as a young man’s fist. If you train it, however, it can almost double in size.
Is it really healthy to have such a big heart or can it also be dangerous?
It is healthy except when the heart is expanding too much from illness. The heart is supplied with oxygen via the coronary arteries. However, there are diseases where there is not enough oxygen to the heart, this can happen, for example, due to doping or because you have a congenital disease. All participants in the Olympic Games are examined in advance by a cardiologist. They are only allowed to participate if they put a stamp in their passport stating that their heart is healthy.
Lisa: If I lose a leg in an accident and get a prosthesis, can I play sports with it as productively as if I had a real leg?
A good question – but also very difficult to answer. You want to know if you can be as effective as a healthy athlete. There are two competitions for athletes at the Olympics, where the Paralympics are for disabled athletes. The spectators, the television, the sponsors relate more to the able-bodied games, so perhaps the able-bodied and the disabled should participate together.
In some disciplines, it can actually be done because one can do some things better with a prosthesis than without. For example, a prosthesis does not get tired, so a child with a spring-loaded prosthesis could win a longer running competition. The world record over 1500 meters, ie almost four laps at the stadium, is almost three seconds faster for the runners with prostheses than for the healthy runners. It is similar to the long jump, because if you have a prosthesis on your ankle bone, the elastic energy is returned when you lift.
These peculiarities cause much controversy and many problems. If all athletes could compete together, a healthy athlete could consider having a lower leg removed so he could go faster and be first. Even after growing up, there is probably still talk of how to make the sport better and fairer.
Titian: I have been swimming actively for six years. Does it make a difference in the development of my heart? 10 km to a swimming practice, I would say.
Ten kilometers or rather five kilometers? If you really do this twice a week, your heart will definitely have gotten bigger. The only question is: is it good to train the heart in children, or is it better to improve the technique first. For the technique is the basis for having a foothold in the water. It is only later that the heart is trained specifically, especially on the longer distances, and years later you should also be in the weight room.
Esther: What is the most popular sport?
Definitely football in Germany – at least for the boys. Especially the girls like to swim and dance and riding is also very popular even though it is not that cheap.