Every week we ask a health question to a medical expert.

This week the question is: why should we actually exercise more and how do you do that?

General practitioner and lifestyle expert Jacqui van Kemenade: "By exercising, we stay fit into old age."

Why is exercise healthy?

"For many different reasons. Exercise is good for your fitness, but also for blood pressure, your bones and muscles and blood sugar. Sugars are stored in your muscles and used as soon as you start moving, so that they can produce new sugars again. record."

"I often advise patients with type 2 diabetes to exercise more. Most of them can take more exercise with less medication. Some can even get off the medication altogether."

What other positive effects does exercise have?

"Exercise gives you more energy, you can relax better and sleep more deeply. It is also good for your mood. It provides feel-good substances: endorphins that make you feel good. It is so effective that for some people it can help with gloom and depression. "

"Another reason to get moving: exercise rejuvenates. Research shows that elderly people who move a lot have longer telomeres - a kind of 'offshoots' of the chromosomes - and therefore stay fit longer."

How much should we move?

"The Health Council advises to exercise moderately intensively for 2.5 hours a week. For young people the advice is sixty minutes at a time. What is often forgotten is the other advice: twice a week muscle and bone strengthening exercises. Strength training. ensures that the blood sugar level falls. This is especially important for people with diabetes. But actually for everyone over 45. "

Why is strength training important from the age of 45?

"Around that time, the muscle mass decreases a little every year if you do nothing about it. That is detrimental to the sugar balance and overall metabolic health. Moreover, you need that muscle mass to remain mobile for as long as possible. If your muscle mass is in order, You can, for example, get up from a chair independently until old age and continue to do the housework yourself.

What Do You Mean By That?

Should we lift weights?

"No, you don't have to work with weights. You can do muscle-strengthening exercises with the help of your own body weight. Do squats and push-ups, for example. Power yoga is also very good. But also the housework, work at home or at home. the garden and climbing stairs are good ways to strengthen your muscles. "

And further?

"It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you exercise regularly. Try to do it throughout the day. Alternate standing and sitting if you sit a lot or take a standing desk. Do you often have to wait somewhere? Walk back and forth. Also walk while on the phone. And do squats while brushing your teeth or balance on one leg. "

Jacqui van Kemenade is a general practitioner in Breda and author of the book Lifestyle on prescription, which has been published by Scriptum Publishers.