Benefits of Physical Activity

Benefits of Physical Activity

Benefits of Physical Activity
Benefits of Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity.

Everyone can experience the health benefits of physical activity – age, abilities, ethnicity, shape, or size do not matter.

What is physical activity?

WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.

Popular ways to be active include walking, cycling, wheeling, sports, active recreation, and play, and can be done at any level of skill and for enjoyment by everybody.

Immediate Benefits

Some benefits of physical activity on brain health happen right after a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Benefits include improved thinking or cognition for children 6 to 13 years of age and reduced short-term feelings of anxiety for adults. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.

Weight Management

Both eating patterns and physical activity routines play a critical role in weight management. You gain weight when you consume more calories through eating and drinking than the number of calories you burn, including those burned during physical activity. For the more latest news visit the site.

To maintain your weight: Work your way up to 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity, which could include dancing or yard work. You could achieve the goal of 150 minutes a week with 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

People vary greatly in how much physical activity they need for weight management. You may need to be more active than others to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

To lose weight and keep it off: You will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your eating patterns and reduce the number of calories you’re eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and healthy eating.

Levels of physical activity globally

  • More than a quarter of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion adults) are insufficiently active
  • Worldwide, around 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4, men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.
  • Levels of inactivity are twice as high in high-income countries compared to low-income countries,
  • There has been no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001
  • Insufficient activity increased by 5% (from 31.6% to 36.8%) in high-income countries between 2001 and 2016.

Increased levels of physical inactivity have negative impacts on health systems, the environment, economic development, community well-being, and quality of life.

Globally, 28% of adults aged 18 and over were not active enough in 2016 (men 23% and women 32%). This means they do not meet the global recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.

In high-income countries, 26% of men and 35% of women were insufficiently physically active, as compared to 12% of men and 24% of women in low-income countries. Low or decreasing physical activity levels often correspond with a high or rising gross national product.

The drop in physical activity is partly due to inaction during leisure time and sedentary behavior on the job and at home. Likewise, an increase in the use of “passive” modes of transportation also contributes to insufficient physical activity.

Globally, 81% of adolescents aged 11-17 years were insufficiently physically active in 2016. Adolescent girls were less active than adolescent boys, with 85% vs. 78% not meeting WHO recommendations of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per day.

How to increase physical activity?

Countries and communities must take action to provide everyone with more opportunities to be active, in order to increase physical activity. This requires a collective effort, both national and local, across different sectors and disciplines to implement policy and solutions appropriate to a country’s cultural and social environment to promote, enable and encourage physical activity.

Policies to increase physical activity aim to ensure that:
  • walking, cycling and other forms of active non-motorized forms of transport are accessible and safe for all;
  • labor and workplace policies encourage active commuting and opportunities for being physically active during the workday;
  • childcare, schools, and higher education institutions provide supportive and safe spaces and facilities for all students to spend their free time actively;
  • primary and secondary schools provide quality physical education that supports children to develop behavior patterns that will keep them physically active throughout their lives;
  • community-based and school-sport programs provide appropriate opportunities for all ages and abilities;
  • sports and recreation facilities provide opportunities for everyone to access and participate in a variety of different sports, dance, exercise, and active recreation; and
  • health care providers advise and support patients to be regularly active.


Reduce Your Health Risk

Afraid of Getting Hurt?

The good news is that moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease and stroke are two leading causes of death in the United States. Getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity can put you at a lower risk for these diseases. You can reduce your risk even further with more physical activity. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.

Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes

and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. People start to see benefits at levels from a physical activity even without meeting the recommendations for 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. Additional amounts of physical activity seem to lower risk even more.

Some Cancers

Being physically active lowers your risk of developing several common cancers.  Adults who participate in greater amounts of physical activity have reduced risks of developing cancers of the:

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Colon (proximal and distal)
  • Endometrium
  • Esophagus (adenocarcinoma)
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Stomach (cardia and non-cardia adenocarcinoma)

If you are a cancer survivor, getting regular physical activity not only helps give you a better quality of life but also improves your physical fitness.


Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles

As you age, it’s important to protect your bones, joints, and muscles – they support your body and help you move. Keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active.

Muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. This is important for older adults who experience reduced muscle mass and muscle strength with aging. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do as part of muscle-strengthening activities will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Increase Your Chances of Living Longer

An estimated 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if US adults ages 40 and older increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a small amount. Even 10 minutes more a day would make a difference.

Taking more steps a day also helps lower the risk of premature death from all causes. For adults younger than 60, the risk of premature death leveled off at about 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. For adults 60 and older, the risk of premature death leveled off at about 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.


Manage Chronic Health Conditions & Disabilities

Regular physical activity can help people manage existing chronic conditions and disabilities. For example, regular physical activity can:

  • Reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis.
  • Help control blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease and nerve damage for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Help support daily living activities and independence for people with disabilities.

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