Exercise. It’s a concept that some people dread, while others love. The necessity of exercise to a healthy life is well known, but sometimes, it’s difficult to motivate yourself to exercise. Fortunately, knowledge is power. By learning more about the importance of exercise and the benefits it provides, we feel more empowered to take control of our health.
What exactly is exercise anyways? Does walking up a flight of stairs count? Physical activity includes leisurely physical activities (walking, dancing, swimming, etc.), transportation activities (walking, biking), sports, occupational physical activities, and planned activities (gym). This definition of physical activity helps us to realize which of our daily activities qualify as real activity and where we could improve.
How much physical activity should healthy adults strive for? The World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18-64 should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity in a week or 75 minutes of intense physical activity in a week. Additionally, the WHO recommends bouts of 10 minutes for aerobic activities in addition to muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days a week. While these recommendations specify a minimum amount of physical activity in a week, the WHO emphasizes that more exercise further enhances your overall health,
Why should you even exercise to begin with. Most people know that there are benefits to exercise, but do you know how exercise specifically benefits you? According to multiple studies, there is strong evidence that healthy adults who regularly exercise have considerably more health benefits than adults who do not exercise often. These benefits include lower rates of mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. Additionally, individuals who exercise demonstrate lower rates of depression, lower chance to fracture hips/vertebrate, a higher level of cardiovascular fitness, and healthier weights.
Exercise alone is not the only factor which can affect fitness. Sitting has also been found to add to the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. In fact, studies suggest that 8 hours of sitting completely negates the effects of exercise, even in healthy adults. Clearly, in order to remain healthy, we have to both exercise often in a week and remain active. Exercise is an integral part of a healthy life and the broad range of benefits it offers should solidify its importance. It is important we get off the couch and choose to invest our time in activities that will promote our wellbeing.