The Benefits of Exercise
There are numerous benefits gained from physical activity. In fact, there are more than 60 benefits that have been scientifically proven through research. Here are just some of them:
Bodily Function Benefits
1. Regular exercise is known to have beneficial effects on peripheral and central circulation,
2. skeletal muscle and myocardium, as well as
3. lipid metabolism
4. carbohydrate metabolism (Kavanagh, 2001).
5. Leisure-time physical activity has been found to be associated with reduced all-cause mortality, aside from genetic factors
6. Physical activity has also been known to unmask various gastrointestinal conditions such as infectious, inflammatory, or ischemic colitis.
7. Moderate physical activity is associated with improved immune status (i.e. decreased risk of contracting an upper-respiratory infection) and lowered risk of developing various cancers (Burnham, 1998).
8. Exercise early in life leads to a higher peak bone mass and can prevent additional bone loss in postmenopausal women that would be caused by a sedentary lifestyle
9. Exercise including strength training has been shown to improve strength in older adults and help maintain functional mobility and independence – even if people begin exercising after age 80 (Burnham, 1998).
Disease Risk Factors
10.participated in moderate or moderately vigorous activity experienced a 50% reduction in risk of having a heart attack compared with inactive men – even after adjusting for age, social class, BMI, smoking habits, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and blood lipids (Kavanagh, 2001).
11.women who walked briskly for 3 hours per week had a 35% reduction in coronary events compared with those who walked infrequently (Kavanagh, 2001).
12.A seven-year study of women in Iowa found that women who engaged in moderate activity for as little as once a week showed a reduced mortality risk of 22%.
13.Helps in controlling hypertension (Grundy, et al)
Decreased Risk of Mortality
14.Increased physical activity improves insulin action and reduces insulin resistance in obese subjects.
15.Epidemiological data suggest that exercise alone and exercise combined with weight reduction slow the transition from having impaired glucose tolerance to developing type 2 diabetes
16.Vigorous exercise (to the point of sweating and/or getting out of breath) has been shown to lower risk of rectal cancer by 40 percent.
17.Women engaged in 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours of brisk walking per week have shown an 18 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to inactive women
18.If physical activity is great enough to result in at least a 4.5 kg weigh loss, HDL cholesterol will be raised, and triglycerides will be lowered (Grundy et. al, 1999).
19.Exercise appears to favorably alter mood by causing changes in brain biochemistry similar to those produced by modern antidepressant medications (Burnham, 1998).
20.people who engage in regular leisure-time physical activity report having fewer nonphysical problems such as poor social functioning, adverse mental health, or role limitations due to emotional problems than other subjects (Han et. al, 1998).
21.A growing body of research shows that regular exercise may improve sexual function for both men and women by improving physical and mental health.
Top 20 Reasons to Exercise:
1. Strengthens heart muscle.
2. Decreases risk for heart disease and heart attack.
3. Improves circulation and oxygen/nutrient transport throughout the body.
4. Helps lose weight and keep it off.
5. Improves breathing efficiency.
6. Strengthens and tones muscles and improves appearance.
7. Helps prevent back problems and back pain.
8. Improves posture.
9. Strengthens bones and helps reduce risk of osteoporosis.
10. Strengthens the tissues around the joints and reduces joint discomfort and arthritis if appropriate exercise is selected and properly performed.
11. Decreases risk for several types of cancer.
12. Improves immune function which decreases risk for infectious diseases.
13. Helps maintain physical and mental functions throughout the second half of life.
14. Increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
15. Boosts energy and increases productivity.
16. Improves sleep.
17. Helps create a positive attitude about life.
18. Relaxes the mind and the body as well as reduces anxiety and depression.
19. Increases resistance to fatigue.
20. May lengthen lifespan.
From Physical Fitness: Guidelines for Success by Joan Eickhoff-Shemek, PhD, and Kris Berg, EdD, University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Sources: American Council on Exercise; American Institute for Cancer Research; Burnham (1998). Exercise is medicine: health benefits of regular physical activity,Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society;Grundy, et al.