Exercise quiz: spring awakening

There are a few things to consider before lacing your sneakers. How is your sports knowledge?

Sport and exercise: do you know your way around?

How important is warming up?

It all depends
Warming up has four important functions: It activates the metabolism and increases blood circulation. It helps the movements go more smoothly. It improves the interaction between nerves and muscles. It makes you more alert, improves awareness.

"When there is a volleyball game or a tennis match, those are four important points," explains sports scientist Professor Ingo Froböse from the Cologne Sports University. "But if you only go jogging, there is no need to warm up beforehand - then you just start more calmly."

Which sport boosts the mood?

Happy together
If you jog through the forest at sunrise, it may lift the mood. But it is much more effective when you play football or basketball. This is suggested by a study in the journal MMW - Advances in Medicine with 1.2 million participants. 45 minutes is therefore the optimal training duration. Subjects who exercise three to five days a week have the fewest bad days in the month.

However, a study in the Journal of Psychology concludes that anaerobic activities like weight training are optimal for mood. The effects of jogging on mood were weaker in both studies.

Are sore muscles unhealthy?

Annoying, but not dangerous
"It is often impossible to avoid sore muscles," explains Professor Klaus Bös from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. It occurs when we overload a muscle or use it in a way that we are not or no longer used to. Tiny tears and inflammations then form on the fibers. The pain comes hours later as the body begins to repair these micro-injuries and flush the inflammatory substances out of the body.

Sore muscles are not dangerous. "Still, you shouldn't provoke him every time you train," says Froböse. After two or three days, the injuries usually heal without any problems. Warmth and light massages soothe the pain.

Which breakfast is best before exercising?

Sometimes muesli, sometimes jam
If you need breakfast to get into the pot, you should firstly adapt it to your sport and secondly make sure that there is enough time between the meal and exercise. "Basically, the more you stress the body through sport, the longer the break has to be," explains Bös. If you want to leave soon after breakfast, short-chain carbohydrates are the right choice. "For example, juice and bread with jam," says Bös.

"Anyone who wants to exercise for a long time needs significantly more food reserves, that is, carbohydrates with a longer burning chain. Before a four-hour bike tour, you should have a decent breakfast, i.e. muesli and wholemeal bread, wait two hours and then cycle off.

From what length of training should you take something to drink with you?

Whom the hour strikes

One thing is certain: you have to compensate for any loss of fluids. But that is usually enough after exercise. "If you jog in the forest for half an hour, you don't need a water bottle. Even with 60 minutes it is enough to drink before and after," explains Klaus Bös. "Only when you have been active for more than an hour is the fluid loss so high that you have to compensate."

This applies not only to jogging, but to all strenuous sports. In tennis competitions, for example, the sports scientist advises you to have a water bottle with you and to drink it during every break in the game - after all, a match like this lasts two to four hours.

Does exercising on an empty stomach help you lose weight?

Less is less

If you want to lose weight with exercise, it actually helps to exercise on an empty stomach. Because the body uses up calories through exercise - and they have to come from somewhere. Because the organism does not have enough sugar available without breakfast, it then gets the energy more quickly from the fat reserves.

A study by the University of Bath shows that overweight men who had to go to the treadmill without breakfast consumed more fat than subjects who had already eaten. "You shouldn't eat right afterwards either, because shortly after exercising, the metabolic situation is still very favorable for further fat burning," says Bös.

Do you burn more calories with light exertion?

The effort is worth it
"In percentage terms, fat burning is greatest with gentle movement: when walking, you burn around 80 percent of fat calories per calorie. When jogging, it is only 60 percent," explains Bös. "Nevertheless, the absolute amount that you burn while jogging is significantly higher because the movement is more intense."

However, it is difficult to lose weight through exercise alone. Diet then plays a much larger role here. Sport can have a supportive effect: "Muscles burn more calories than fat tissue - even when you are resting," says Froböse.

Do digital helpers use sports?

Nothing for everyone
"There are two groups that benefit from apps and self-trackers," says sports scientist Froböse: "Beginners and professionals." Anyone who starts training can strengthen their body awareness with wearables. For example, many beginners run too fast and with too high a heart rate. Professionals can use digital helpers to document their successes and analyze their performance.

"Wearables, on the other hand, make no sense for a group: ambitious leisure sports enthusiasts. They train best when they listen to their bodies," says Froböse.

Do barefoot shoes bring an advantage?

Not for beginners
"If someone has healthy feet and is re-trained to run barefoot, it can make sense and offer advantages," says Bös. "However, people who have a completely different foot socialization and are not used to walking barefoot need good control. For example, a physiotherapist should take a look at it."

On the other hand, putting on your barefoot shoes and running can go really wrong - especially on asphalt. "If you really want to try it out, you should at least look for a soft surface."

Does music motivate you in sports?

Doping on the ears
Music increases our performance. Almost everyone has had this experience before. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology confirms the effect: the test subjects were significantly more resilient when they listened to music.

"You can even hypnotize that to the point of doping," says sports scientist Froböse. "Music has a direct influence on our movement pattern." This can be useful in competition. In principle, however, he advises: "The music should adapt to the body and not the other way around."


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