benefits of engaging in physical activities
Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases and conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. Physical activity helps to prevent and manage these conditions. Evidence shows it can improve mental health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, and dementia.
Physical activity provides both physical health benefits and social and psychological benefits. These include:
– Stronger muscles and bones
– Improved heart health (healthy blood pressure)
– Increased fitness (and increased ability to do more during the day). Higher energy levels throughout the day due to better sleep patterns. Increased body confidence leads to improved self-esteem.
Better moods/more minor depressive symptoms Additional benefits such as helping with weight management, increasing stamina or energy levels are also often referenced in the literature. Still, there is limited evidence for these types of benefits.
Physical activity helps control weight. The more active you are, the easier it is to maintain weight. Physical activity also helps with good nutrition and can improve self-esteem, which changes eating habits.
It has been found that being less physically active increases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, which makes physical activity a vital part of a healthy lifestyle to manage these conditions effectively.
Regular physical activity reduces mortality from all causes by between 20% – 30%. There is also evidence that people who become inactive in middle age are at greater risk of poor health later than those who remain active throughout life.
It has been found that they gain the most health benefits when they do 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of physical activity per week. This can include things like walking, running, swimming, or cycling. This is the minimum level that reduces health risks and provides health benefits for people aged between 5 years old to 65 years old.
Exercise has many different forms, each providing various benefits, including cardiovascular (improves heart health), resistance training (helps with solid muscles and bones), flexibility training (helps maintain range of motion in joints), balance training, weight management classes, etc.
Some examples are exercise classes at your local gym, jogging/running, walking, or dancing, along with using machines such as cross trainers or treadmills, which are available in most gyms these days.
There is also swimming if you enjoy this as a form of exercise as it is also low impact and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
For those who do not enjoy the gym, there are many other options such as walking, running, hiking, dancing, etc., which you can participate in.
If these activities appeal to you, you may even want to try something completely different, such as orienteering or rock climbing/ abseiling! Try doing something that interests you and keep at it, thus increasing your motivation levels.
What does physical activity mean?
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Physical activity is a movement that helps you burn calories and maintain or improve your health. This includes things like walking, cycling, jogging, running, etc.
Any physical activity has many benefits, including boosting energy levels, improving mental health, feeling less stressed, and the more obvious fitness-related goals such as burning fat and losing weight. It can also help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress and provide many other benefits to overall health, which are detailed below in this article.
How much physical activity should I do?
The NHS recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week for five years old to 65 years old. There is a large amount of evidence demonstrating that those who do at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity are at less risk for developing diseases than those who do not.
Those who do more than this amount gets the benefits of an even more significant reduction in disease risk.
If you don’t think you can manage 150 minutes per week, simply doing some is better than nothing! Doing 20-30 minutes per day will help reduce your disease risk and improve mood and energy levels. On average, adults need 2,000 calories to maintain their weight, whereas it only takes 500 extra calories above this to start gaining weight.
Hence, burning some extra calories through physical activity is one of the most effective ways to lose weight if combined with eating a healthy balanced diet.
What happens when I exercise?
Regular exercise makes your heart stronger and improves its ability to pump blood around the body.
It also helps your muscles work more efficiently, making everyday tasks easier and reducing the risk of injuries such as falls as you get older. As well as this, it reduces stress levels, which is a key factor in improving mental health and increasing confidence levels. It can also aid those suffering from depression by lifting mood and reducing feelings of anxiety.
What are the benefits of physical activity on health?
There are many benefits associated with being physically active, including improved overall health, reduced risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes & some cancers. Regular exercise has been found to improve brain function and thinking skills and reduce age-related loss of muscle.