The importance of exercise for physical health
Regular physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. People who lead an active life are more likely to live longer and less likely to develop serious diseases. Exercise also improves the mental health and general sense of well-being.
Benefits of physical exercise
Regular exercise prevents the occurrence of some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, obesity.
Regarding the cardiovascular health, meaningful benefits may be attained with long-term participation in cardiovascular exercise. Higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with a 50% reduction in cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk and a 20% reduction of mortality in men. Physically inactive middle-aged women (engaging in less than 1 hour of exercise per week) doubled their risk of mortality from CVD compared with their physically active female counterparts. (Myers et al. 2004)
The risk of type 2 diabetes is lowered by regular aerobic exercise. During this kind of activity, the insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism are increased which means the body’s cells can more efficiently transport glucose into the cells of the liver, muscle and adipose tissue (Steyn et al. 2004). Improvements in glucose metabolism with strength training, independent of alterations in aerobic capacity or percent body fat, have also been shown (Pollock et al. 2001).
Physical activity and exercise are correlated with a lower incidence of colon cancer in men and women, and breast cancer in women. Physically active men and women have a 30%–40% reduction in relative risk for colon cancer, and physically active women have a 20%–40% reduction in relative risk for breast cancer compared with their inactive counterparts. 30–60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day are needed for this risk reduction. (Lee 2003)
Weight loss is one of the most common benefits normally associated with regular exercise. Usually, long-term low-intensity cardio is the best way to maintain healthy weight loss over a period of time. More intense cardio exercises are useful for improving endurance, aiding cardiovascular health. Weight loss is also encouraged by exercise, because this activity increases the body muscle mass, which leads to a higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy burned while resting and is usually the largest component of total caloric expenditure (70%). Using more calories for BRM means losing weight.