The physical activities which have enjoyed the biggest growth including walking, swimming, jogging, cycling and yoga, etc. which have also been the ones most heavily promoted for their health benefits, indicating that this is the major motivation for taking up exercise.
The 10 physical and psychological benefits of exercise
- Immunity to heart disease
- Prevent illness in general
- Relief from stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved work
- Sexual performance
- Better night’s sleep
- More attractive body
- Longer lifespan.
What are the key benefits of physical fitness activities?
According to the weight of worldwide scientific evidence now indicates that exercise really does:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease, probably by its known beneficial effects on blood fat levels, clotting factors and blood pressure. Paradoxically, people engaged in erratic and over strenuous activity have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack during exercise.
- Help to control raised blood pressure and possibly prevent the rise in blood pressure which often occurs in middle age.
- Promote weight loss, thereby also reducing the weight-related risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, bronchitis and complications during surgery.
- Reduce the risk of late-onset diabetes and help to control the condition itself by improving the way the body processes glucose.
- Protect against postmenopausal osteoporosis by increasing and maintaining bone density, although high-impact forms of exercise, such as running, can increase the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
However, the most universal benefit of exercise is what we refer to as “enhancement of normal health” or “fitness”. Fitness is the ability to cope with the necessities of daily life without feeling physically limited.
Exercise gets you fit by training your body to do more work with less effort. It boosts muscle power, improves joint flexibility and enhances the capacity of the heart and lungs to fuel the muscles with oxygen.
Which activity offers the most health benefits?
Experts agree that the forms of exercise most closely associated with health and fitness are aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, jogging/running, cycling and swimming.
These involved rhythmic, sustained, moderately vigorous movements of large muscle groups and force the heart and lungs to work harder to supply those muscles with oxygen. They also use up a lot of energy, so helping to reduce excess weight.
However, exercise must be regular to be effective. Experts recommend a minimum of three 20 to 30 minute exercise sessions spaced through the week.
It’s doing you good if you have to breathe hard enough to make conversation difficult. As your fitness improves you have to work harder for the same results.