Benefits of Physical Activity
Reduces risk of diabetes
Regular physical activity helps maintain blood sugar levels and control insulin activity. If you have a BMI greater than 22 or if you have a family history of diabetes, this benefit of exercise may have special value to you.
Physical activity has been shown to be the single most important factor in successful weight maintenance. Aim for burning about 1000-2000 calories per week from activity. Visit the Improvement Center to find out about the calories you burn through different physical activities.
Reduces risk of premature death
The highest risk of death and disability is found among those who do no regular physical activity.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Physical activity increases the level of HDLs, or "good" cholesterol in your blood. HDLs are like cholesterol scavengers--they pick up the "bad" cholesterol in the arteries and transport it to the liver for eventual removal from the body. An increase in your HDLs is protective; it can decrease the risk of a heart attack.
Improves health of muscles and bones
Regular aerobic physical activity improves blood flow to your muscles and helps them use energy. Strength training increases muscle size and strength. Physical activities like jogging, walking and strength training strengthen your bones and make them more dense.
Improves mental health
Regular physical activity can reduce anxiety and depression, and improve mood.
Reduces risk of high blood pressure
Not only does regular physical activity reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, but it also helps lower blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure.
Reduces risk of colon cancer
People who are sedentary face a higher risk of colon cancer. For reasons we do not understand, people who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of colon cancer.
Helps older adults become stronger
The loss of strength and stamina that is often attributed to aging is partly caused by reduced physical activity. The reduced physical activity leads to a thinning of bones, a weakening of muscles, and a reduction in metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories/energy). This often leads to weight gain. Physical activity improves nearly all systems, especially the cardiovascular system and the ability to perform the routine tasks of daily life.