Physical activity, its importance and benefits

We know that staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know it can also improve your overall well-being and quality of life? Here are just a few of the ways physical activity can help you feel better, look better and live better. Because, why not?

It’s a natural mood lifter

  • Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. You know that "feel good sensation" you get after doing something physical. Think of it as your daily dose of happiness.
  • Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.
  • It keeps you physically fit and able. Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly.

It helps keep the doctor away.

  • Stand up when you eat your apple a day! Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
  • Exercise helps the leg veins return blood to the heart. If the blood does not circulate often enough, it will begin to accumulate in the legs, causing higher pressure in the capillaries. This higher pressure means that fluid will leave the capillaries at a faster rate. The increased pressure also makes it harder for fluids to come back later on.
  • Exercise is necessary to stimulate the lymphatic system to carry out its function of regulating overflow, bringing fluids back into the bloodstream at rates that may regulate body water levels.
  • Very long periods of physical inactivity, such as a long-haul flight, increase the risk of water retention. During a long-haul flight, even minor physical movements, such as standing up on tiptoes a few times, rotating the ankles, and wiggling the toes, can help reduce fluid retention.

Some more benefits of being physically active:

  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Boosts your levels of good cholesterol
  • Improves blood flow (circulation)
  • Keeps your weight under control
  • Prevents bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis
  • Helps you quit smoking and stay tobacco-free.
  • Boosts your energy level so you can get more done.
  • Helps you manage stress and tension.
  • Promotes a positive attitude and outlook.
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Improves your self-image and self-confidence.
  • Provides fun ways to spend time with family, friends and pets.
  • Helps you spend more time outdoors or in your community.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. That’s only 30 minutes a day , 5 days a week. And three 10-minute brisk walking breaks count toward your goal. So, this is easy! As they say, just move. You don’t have to make big life changes to see the benefits.