There are many benefits of being fit and physically active, both short- and long- term benefits. Below is a list of just a few of the health benefits of physical activity. Enjoy the write-up!
Both regular exercise and increased physical activity add years to your life and life to your years. Health benefits are obtained from increasing the amount of any physical activity you do. The more you do, the greater the benefits. Remember that physical activity is any movement that uses energy. Exercise is physical activity that is structured and is done at a certain intensity for a certain length of time. We should engage in physical activity for health benefits if we wish to avoid disease and delay death. We should engage in physical activity for fitness benefits in order to improve some components of physical fitness (cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition).
Long-Term Benefits – exercise decreases risk of heart disease. Inactive people are 2 times more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) then active people.
Decreases Blood Pressure: High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Inactive people are 2 times more likely to develop high blood pressure than active people.
Decreases Body Fat: Regular physical activity helps maintain optimal body weight and composition.
Exercise decreases cholesterol level: A high blood cholesterol level increases the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise raises the level of “good” cholesterol and lowers the level of the “bad” cholesterol.
Physical activity decreases risk of diabetes: Physical activity lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and increases glucose uptake for those who already have diabetes. Fit women have diabetes 66% less often than unfit women.
Exercise decreases risk of cancer: Physical activity lowers the risk of colon and breast cancer. Physical activity decreases risk of osteoporosis: Regular exercise delays bone loss and promotes bone formation.
Exercise decreases arthritis symptoms: Regular exercise helps keep joints flexible and helps build muscle to support the joint.
Physical activity decreases the number of sick days: Exercisers feel sick almost 30% less often than non-exercisers.
Exercise decreases the chance of premature death: Fit people live longer than unfit people.
These are some of the short-term benefits….
Relaxes and Revitalizes: Physical activity reduces mental and muscular tension, and at the same time, increases concentration and energy level. A break from daily routine and worries. Physical activity is like a mini-vacation – you’re allowed to have fun. Helps you feel good about yourself. Physical activity increases your self-esteem and self-confidence.
These are the thoughts of:
Sa’eed Halilu Bawa
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad.
Studied Food and Nutrition Sciences, Dietetics at Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria; Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland.