Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress.
For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.
If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.
Regular physical activity that is performed on most days of the week reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death:
Heart Disease and Stroke.
Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.
High Blood Pressure.
Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces body fat percentage, which is associated with high blood pressure.
By reducing body fat percentage, physical activity can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.
Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body's ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.
By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.
Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.
Regular physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers also have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.
Healthy eating and being physically active are keys to a healthy lifestyle. You may reduce your risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers, and increase your chances of living longer.