As we continue our observance of National Physical Activity Week, we turn our attention to some of the benefits of regular physical activity, having looked at some of the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle in yesterday’s post.
The benefits of physical activity range from physical to mental and social, so don’t hesitate to get moving!
- It helps to control weight – We gain weight when the calories we burn, including those burned during physical activity, are less than the calories we consume. Therefore, it follows that if this is reversed and we burn more calories by being active, we can lose weight – coupled with healthier eating habits, of course. Physical activity also reduces body fat by building or preserving muscle mass.
- It combats health conditions – As shared yesterday, people who are not physically active are at risk of suffering from health and lifestyle-related issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers. Being active can significantly your risk of being affected by these conditions, or help you manage or recuperate from them.
- It strengthens bones and muscles – Research has shown that doing moderate aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. This can prevent things like hip fractures as we age, and is especially helpful for women, who suffer from osteoporosis due to menopause. Regular physical activity also helps with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints.
- It improves your mental state – Regular physical activity helps to keep our thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as we age. It can also reduce the risk of depression and boosts sleep. Being active stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave us feeling happier and more relaxed. So, the next time you’re feeling sad, angry or upset, a session at the gym or even a simple walk may help to restore equilibrium.
- It helps you live longer – Since being active reduces the chances of dying early from conditions like heart disease and some cancers, it stands to reason that our lifespan will increase. Our quality of life will also be better, as we are less likely to be dependent on medication or hospitalised or confined to bed with the symptoms of these conditions.
- It boosts your self-confidence – Accomplishing any goal will make you feel better about yourself, and it’s the same for reaching physical milestones, whether it is dropping those last 10 pounds, finally being able to run a 5K or even just completing that first gym session. And as your body starts to take the shape you want, your confidence level will continue to increase.
- It gives an energy boost – Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to our tissues and help the cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When our heart and lungs work more efficiently, we have more energy to go about your daily chores, so we don’t feel lethargic sitting at our desks all day, or get winded playing with our children or pets.
It can help your social life – Being or becoming physically active can be more fun in the company of friends. Whether it is walking, jogging or running in a group, making a workout buddy at the gym, playing football with your friends after work, or joining the throng at an Emancipation park fitness session, the energy of a group setting helps to take your mind off the task and just let loose. Sporting activities are also great for improving our people skills, so give it a try.
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