Exercise makes us fit and healthy. When we are fit we feel happy, and able to enjoy life and with renewed strength and energy we are in control of our life. The importance of physical activity or exercise can be best understood when you have some health issues which get resolved with the help of exercise or you feel some disease approaching you and you are able to stop it and regain fitness with exercises. It is the best investment for an enjoyable and healthy life.
A healthy body is one that is in a complete state of physical and mental wellness when we are able to function optimally and disease free. Studies have revealed that those who exercise regularly along with other required changes in their lifestyles are stronger, generally disease free/ recover quickly from diseases, and have a happy and long life.
It is a very powerful and effective fitness tool. It can even be equated with medicine and therapy. The effects of exercise are so widespread on the body that you feel a new lease of life to your body parts when they are properly put to exercise.
However, the approval of your doctor helps in deciding the type and amount of exercises that are suitable for your specific body conditions.
Benefits of Exercise
We have become increasingly sedentary. With the advancement of age mobility also comes down. We start some exercise routines and drop them after some time. Our routines involve more time sitting or before desks. There are countless benefits of proper exercise. Some of the major benefits of exercise are:
- Helps in having good cardiovascular health
- Helps in managing depression and anxiety
- A happy state of mind
- Control of diabetes
- Good brain health
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Tissues are able to get sufficient oxygen
- Removal of toxins from the body
- An important role in improving oxygen to all the tissues of the body
- Helps in managing hypertension
- Helps in reversing lifestyle diseases
- Weight management
- Good posture and prevention of backache and joint pains
- Overall fitness is better
- Helps in Hormonal balance
- Good for digestion
- Better immunity
- Stronger muscles
- Lowers cancer risks
- Slows aging
- Good for respiratory health
- Better sleep
- Good for bone strength
Precautions for exercises
There are various exercises that you can do including walking, swimming, jogging, running, any sports, dancing, yoga, going to the gym, etc.
Before starting any exercise we have to understand the type of exercises suitable for us. It is better to take the advice of a doctor before starting exercise.
General helpful tips for beginners are they should do low-stress exercises and Gradually increase intensity and duration. Aerobic exercise is found to be generally preferable to anaerobic exercise. Include the exercises involving the use of large muscles. Exercises that are sustainable are always better. Do the exercise which you enjoy.
How much exercise you should do
For adults aged 18 to 64 years WHO recommends doing at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
It is also recommended that we should also do muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
We should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity of any intensity (including light intensity) provides health benefits, and to help reduce the detrimental effects of high levels of sedentary behavior on health, all adults and older adults should aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity
WHO on Physical Activity
What is physical activity?
WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.
WHO has initiated a GLOBAL ACTION PLAN ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 2018-2030 with a target of a 15% relative reduction in the global prevalence of physical inactivity in adults and in adolescents by 2030.
WHO has described that Physical activity can be undertaken in many different ways: walking, cycling, sports, and active forms of recreation (for example, dance, yoga, and tai chi). Physical activity can also be undertaken at work and around the home. All forms of physical activity can provide health benefits if undertaken regularly and of sufficient duration and intensity. The current situation Global progress to increase physical activity has been slow, largely due to a lack of awareness and investment.
It has also been observed by WHO that Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. It also helps to prevent hypertension, overweight, and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life, and well-being. It has been concluded by WHO that Worldwide, 1 in 4 adults, and 3 in 4 adolescents (aged 11–17 years), do not currently meet the global recommendations for physical activity set by WHO.