The importance of physical fitness cannot be emphasized enough. In today’s society that is moving towards a more sedentary lifestyle, there is a greater need than ever to increase the daily activity level to maintain both cardiovascular fitness and body weight.
Benefits of Physical Fitness
Staying active means keeping your body functioning at a high level. Regular exercise willmaintain the performance of your lungs and heart to most efficiently burn off excess calories and keep yourweight under control. Exercise will also improve muscle strength, increase joint flexibility and improve endurance.
Another main benefit of physical activity is that it decreases the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. Additionally, it can decrease your risk of stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Regular exercise has been long associated with a fewer visits to the doctor, hospitalization and medication.
Exercising does not have to be something boring and dreaded. It can be something that you enjoy that helps to increase the overall happiness in your life, as well as relieve symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Try to find some activities that give you pleasure, or even a buddy to do them with so that exercise is a fun and enjoyable activity (and one that you continue on a regular basis because it adds something good to your life).
What Activities Are Beneficial?
It is not what you are doing, as much as it is whether or not you are doing something. Any type of moderate activity like walking, swimming, biking or organized sports can contribute to your physical fitness. Explore your fitness options at your local gym, community center or community college for courses and organized activities that may suit your lifestyle and interests.
To get the most benefit, you should begin by warming up for 5 to 10 minutes to increase your blood flow and prepare your body for activity. Follow the warm up with several minutes of stretches to increase your flexibility and lower your risk for injury. Complete your selected exercise or activity for 20 to 30 minutes and conclude the workout with 5 to 10 minutes of cool down and stretching.
Who Needs Physical Fitness?
Everyone! It is important for all people to stay active throughout their lives. Because of busy work and home lives, more than 60% of Americans do not get the recommended amount of physical fitness daily and these numbers generally increase with age.
Throughout adulthood is one of the most important times to maintain an exercise regimen. This is the ideal time tomaintain your weight, build strong bones and prevent many chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Many adults do too much exercise at once. After a long work-week, many people try to fit lots of activity into the weekend and push their bodies excessively. This sudden increase in activity can raise the risk of injury which would then stop activity for weeks. Experts recommend working out several times over the course of a week with varying exercises for the most benefit to your health.
Would you like to:
- Decrease your risk of disease?
- Feel better physically and mentally?
- Look better?
- Help avoid injuries?
- Keep doing activities you enjoy throughout your life?
Regular physical activity will help you do these things. Physical activity is essential to prevent and reduce risks of many diseases and improve physical and mental health. It can even help you live longer—research from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicates that regular exercise can add up to five years to your life.
Physical activity also keeps you in shape so you can enjoy leisure activities and safely perform work and home chores. It offers great mental and social benefits as well. The Lancet released a series of studies that attribute positive outcomes to physical activity, including “a sense of purpose and value, a better quality of life, improved sleep, and reduced stress, as well as stronger relationships and social connectedness.”
On the other hand, lack of physical activity is associated with increased risks of:
- Anxiety, stress, and feelings of depression
- Developing many preventable conditions, such as high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and obesity
- Dying prematurely
The authors of the Lancet studies even suggest that the sedentary lifestyle so common in our culture is more deadly than smoking. They also believe that 6-10% of the world’s non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer) are caused by physical inactivity.
12 important reasons to be physically active
1. Be healthier
2. Increase your chances of living longer
3. Feel better about yourself
4. Reduce the chance of becoming depressed
5. Sleep better at night
6. Look good
7. Be in shape
8. Get around better
9. Have stronger muscles and bones
10. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
11. Be with friends or meet new people
12. Have fun
Physical activity reduces risk for eight conditions
According to the Centers for Disease Control, exercise can reduce your risk of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast and colon cancer