And moderate physical activity doesn't take much - a daily old-fashioned walk can be enough.
And the benefits of regular physical activity include greatly improving your mood and helping you to live a longer, happier, healthier life, free from the pain and suffering of disease.
How Physical Activity Contributes to Your Health
While it's vitally important to eat healthy, the second most important thing you can do for your health is to make sure you get regular exercise. Here are the ten main physical activity benefits:
- Helps you manage your weight. Physical activity not only burns calories, it also increases metabolism for up to 12 hours or more. And it can help you to lose weight fast or slowly and to keep off the weight you lose - permanently!
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise also decreases triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol while it increases HDL (good) cholesterol. And by reducing arterial plaque buildup, regular physical activity helps to keep your blood flowing smoothly.
- Reduces risks of cardiovascular disease. Exercise can lower your risk for two of the leading causes of death - heart disease and stroke. Just 30 minutes a day or more decreases your chance of heart attack or dying from heart disease or stroke.
- Strengthens your bones and muscles. Regular physical activity, especially strength training, increases bone density and helps lower your risk of osteoporosis and hip fractures. It also helps reduce the pain that come with arthritis and other joint conditions.
- Improves your mental health and mood. Exercise releases "happy" hormones (endorphins), helps you sleep better, sharpens thinking and judgment skills and lessens feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.
- Reduces your risks for type 2 diabetes. By improving your weight, insulin sensitivity and blood sugar metabolism, regular physical activity decreases your chance of developing diabetes and reduces the severity and complications for those who have it.
- Helps your body absorb and use nutrients. Exercise is necessary to absorb nutrition from the food you eat and eliminate toxins through sweat and healthy bowel movements. No matter how good your diet, without regular physical activity you can't be truly healthy.
- Increases your chances for a long life. Few lifestyle choices have as big an impact on your health as regular physical activity. Studies clearly show that exercise lessens your chance of dying early.
- Lowers your risk of some cancers. Physically active people have less risk of uterus cancer, lung cancer and 30-50% less chance of getting colon cancer. Active women have a lower risk of breast cancer and active men less risk of prostate cancer.
- Improves your ability to do daily activities. Regular physical activity with strength training helps to keep you sharp as you age, improves your breathing and balance and reduces your risk of falling.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.