Many surveys have shown that the people from western countries do not move enough. Less than 80% of the adult population would practice the minimum recommended physical activity that is at least 30 minutes per day.
It’s not much better for the youngest children raised with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle: their activity level would have decreased by almost 40% in a few decades.
Physical activity has many health benefits and research has shown that physical inactivity is the cause of many chronic illnesses, disabilities and premature death.
Living a physically active life does not mean running the marathon every year or being a national triathlon champion. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get the mail on foot rather than by car, take a walk with our partner, or go walk the dog. These moderate exercise activities are fit for any age and are very beneficial to our health.
In fact, being active confers many benefits on our organism: strengthening of the skeleton, development of muscles and better flexibility, improvement of cardiac functions, but also relaxation.
Thus, the benefit of practicing a sport or activity that move the body better cardiac and respiratory capacities, muscular strength, greater autonomy, etc. And on the mind have reduction of anxiety and depression, better quality sleep, social integration, etc.
With regular practice, around 3 hours per week, the risk of premature death, before age 65, is reduced by 30%.
In addition, also certain pathologies can be prevented by regular physical practice:
Cardiovascular diseases, cancers (of the colon, breast, uterus, etc.), diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and many more.
Finally, the practice of a group activity: group lessons, basketball, football, running, cycling etc. allows better social integration. It’s a good excuse to meet new people or just hang out with friends or family to have a good time.
Here are three of the best benefits of physical activity on our body and mind. What give us more reasons to move on!
Dense and strong bones
Physical activity, especially weight training, helps prevent the loss of bone density associated with aging. It can also slow down this loss of density in people who already have osteoporosis. By improving balance and coordination, exercise also reduces the risk of falls, which often cause fractures.
A more efficient heart
The more we participate in high intensity sports, such as running or swimming, the more efficient our heart becomes. As a result, the resting heart rate tends to drop, and our heart also has to work harder to eject blood to our arteries, which lowers blood pressure.
A deep and restful sleep
Regular physical activity improves the duration and quality of sleep, especially deep sleep. It also generates fewer periods of nocturnal awakening. Even better, getting a good night’s sleep makes us more fit for sports the next day!
Secreted by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, two glands located in the brain, endorphin helps reduce stress while giving us a pleasant feeling of euphoria. Physical activity, especially endurance sport, is one of the best ways to induce these glands to secrete this powerful hormone.
Exercise has many beneficial effects on the body. One of the main ones is the reduction of the risks of cardiovascular diseases thanks to the strengthening of the muscles of the cardiovascular system, to better oxygenation of the tissues, to a reduction in the blood pressure and to the reduction of the “bad cholesterol” responsible for atherosclerosis.
Combined with a balanced diet, physical exercise boosts metabolism and eliminates excess calories, which allows better weight control and a reduction in the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
It also reduces the risk of sexual diseases and prostate and endometrial (uterine) cancer. Physical activity stimulates the immune system and protects against infections, especially those of the respiratory system.
In postmenopausal women and the elderly, physical exercise slows the loss of muscle mass, helps maintain joint flexibility and fights osteoporosis. It thus helps to reduce falls and the risk of fractures.