The Benefits of Exercise
by Deborah L. Mullen,
Here's a list of long- and short-term benefits from
exercising and participating in physical activity, along with an explanation describing
the difference between the two.
The Difference between Physical Activity and Exercise
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. 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 engage in physical activity for health benefits
if we wish to avoid disease and delay death. We 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).
Decreases Risk of Heart Disease
Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) then active
Decreases Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases the risk of
heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop
high blood pressure then active people.
Regular physical activity helps maintain optimal body weight and composition.High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney
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.
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.
Decreases Risk of Cancer
Physical activity lowers the risk of colon and breast
Decreases Risk of Osteoporosis
Regular exercise delays bone loss and
promotes bone formation.
Decreases Arthritis Symptoms
Regular exercise helps keep joints
flexible and helps build muscle to support the joint.
Decreases Number of Sick Days
Exercisers feel sick almost 30% less
often than non-exercisers.
Decreases Chance of Premature Death
Fit people live longer than unfit people.
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
Helps You Feel Good About Yourself
Physical activity is like a
mini-vacationyoure allowed to have fun.
Physical activity increases your
self-esteem and self-confidence.
While many people start a
physical activity program because of long-term benefits,
its the short-term benefits that keep them motivated to continue the habit.
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