Lack of physical activity and exercise is a major health problem in this country. Many studies have clearly shown the health benefits of physical activity. Despite the facts, many of us remain fairly physically inactive. Although there may be some risks associated with exercise in certain individuals, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the risks in most people.
Exercise is great for your health. This has been widely studied and published in the medical literature. Here are some quick facts you should know about physical activity and exercise:
Decreases risk of dying. Regardless of its effect on specific diseases, you will have a lower chance of dying from any cause if you exercise regularly. For example, a study that followed and tracked over 10,000 Harvard University students over a period of 12 years, revealed a 23 percent lower risk of death in men who engaged in moderate physical activity compared to those who were less active. In another study done in 2014, researchers found that elite athletes had an overall 67 percent lower risk of death when compared to the general population. Read about some secrets to a longer life on our other blog post by clicking here.
Weight Loss. Exercise helps you burn calories. This, in turn, helps you lose weight as long as your food intake remains balanced and appropriate. Control Blood Sugars. Exercise has several effects on how your body handles sugar. It increases the rate at which your body breaks down sugar to make energy and also moves sugar out of your blood stream and into your exercising muscles. This could help control blood sugars if you have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes. A 2010 analysis of multiple studies, confirmed the beneficial effects of exercise on blood sugars and Hemoglobin A1C levels in people with Diabetes.
Lower Blood Pressure. Exercise helps lower your blood pressure, especially if you have High Blood Pressure or Hypertension. Protect Heart. Exercise lowers your chance of dying from heart disease.
Strengthen Bones. Exercise strengthens your bones and decreases your risk of thinning brittle bones (Osteoporosis) and bone fractures. Studies have shown that there is a lower likelihood of hip fractures in people who exercise regularly.
Prevent Stroke. Exercise could also decrease your chance of having a stroke. Prevent Cancer. Though the data is limited, studies suggest that exercise may have a modest effect on cancer prevention. This is true for different types of cancer including breast, intestinal, prostate and pancreatic cancers. One study found about a 25 percent lower likelihood in developing colon cancer when comparing the most versus the least active individuals.
Lower Stress and Depression. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety and depression. Exercise is sometimes recommended in the treatment of depression. A 2009 Louisiana State University study showed that exercise improved physical and psychological quality of life. This effect was seen regardless of whether participants lost weight or not.
Keep Gallstone symptoms away. This may sound insignificant but exercise decreases the likelihood of developing gallstone-related symptoms. This was confirmed in a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital involving 45,000 men followed over a period of 8 years.