Physical activity can improve your quality of life in a multitude of ways.
AHA physical activity recommendation
The American Heart Association recommends just 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week. Even brisk walking will do.
Here are some reasons why physical activity is proven to improve both mental and physical health.
Physical activity boosts mental wellness
Regular physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, depression and anger. You may not only notice a “feel good sensation” immediately following your physical activity, but most people also note an improvement in general well-being over time during the weeks and months as physical activity becomes a part of your routine. Specifically, physical activity can improve mental health as it:
- Releases tension
- Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
- Counters anxiety and depression
- Improves self-image
Exercise increases the flow of oxygen which directly affects the brain. Your mental acuity and memory can also be improved with physical activity.
Physical activity increases immunity
It enhances your immune system and decreases the risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease. It also helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longer for seniors.
Physical activity reduces risk factors
Becoming more active can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Physical activity lowers your heart disease risk as it:
- Prevents and manages high blood pressure
- Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
- Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people and by 27 percent in highly active ones
- Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life
Physical activity can also boost your levels of good cholesterol.
Physical activity prolongs your optimal health
Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well. And for each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age. Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, for as little as 30 minutes a day has the proven physical health benefits listed above as well as:
- Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
- Keeps weight under control
- Helps in the battle to quit smoking
- Prevents bone loss
- Boosts energy level
- Helps manage stress
- Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
- Increases muscle strength, increasing the ability to do other physical activities
See for yourself. Once you get over the inertia and find creative ways to fit physical activity into your life, we think you’ll agree that the effort to get moving is worth it!
Try our at-home workout video with fitness contributor Andia Winslow for new ways to get fit without a gym every day.