The health benefits associated with regular exercise are numerous. Specifically, exercise can help prevent heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis. In addition, it can help fight depression as well as promote improved stress management.
To maximize your overall health benefits, experts typically recommend that you perform 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle-strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, you can also achieve significant health benefits by completing 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.
If you are just beginning an exercise program, starting at a slow pace with low-impact activities such as walking or swimming will allow you to improve your physical fitness level while safeguarding you from unwanted overuse injuries and burnout. Once you get in better shape, you can gradually integrate more strenuous and varied activities into your routine.
Positive Impact of Physical Activity
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the United States. Further, regular exercise effectively:
- Reduces the risk of dying from heart disease.
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
- Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure.
- Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
- Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Helps control weight.
- Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling.
- Promotes psychological well-being.
The health benefits of exercise can be achieved by virtually everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, or physical ability. Therefore, if you want to feel better, have more energy, and live longer, simply follow a program of regular, moderate exercise, and enjoy a better quality of life.