Benefits of physical activity and health

The evidence is growing and is more convincing than ever! People of all ages who are generally inactive can improve their health and well-being by becoming active at a moderate-intensity on a regular basis.

Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, and decreases the risk for stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduces falls among older adults; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications. Moreover, physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial; people of all ages benefit from participating in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week.


Regular physical activity can improve health and reduce the risk of premature death in the following ways:

  • Reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) and the risk of dying from CHD

  • Reduces the risk of stroke

  • Reduces the risk of having a second heart attack in people who have already had one heart attack

  • Lowers both total blood cholesterol and triglycerides and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL or the "good" cholesterol)

  • Lowers the risk of developing high blood pressure

  • Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have hypertension

  • Lowers the risk of developing non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus

  • Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer

  • Helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight

  • Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety

  • Promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress

  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints

  • Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling or becoming excessively fatigued

Can a lack of physical activity hurt your health? Evidence shows that those who are not physically active are definitely not helping their health, and may likely be hurting it. The closer we look at the health risks associated with a lack of physical activity, the more convincing it is that people who are not yet regularly physically active should become active.


Related article:
Healthy bones

Credits: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

This article has informational purpose and  isn't a substitute for professional advice.

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