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from Children's Mercy
Benefits of being active
Being active has tremendous health benefits! Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to manage weight, reduce risk of disease, and improve your quality of life.
Check out these tips for more information on how being active impacts the body.
Did you know that physical inactivity is the primary reason we don't live longer, other than smoking?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths for adults(1). As one of the most preventable diseases, it is easy to manage your risk of developing heart disease by engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.
Physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of early death, heart disease, and a number of other diseases. In order to receive the health benefits associated with activity, it is recommended that adults receive 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week(2).
Not sure where to start? The simplest way to get started - walk! Activity does not have to be strenuous to make a difference, take a 30 minute walk every day and begin to see improvements in your health.
Did you know that being active can be as or more effective than medications in preventing diabetes?
Regular physical activity plays a big part in managing and preventing diabetes. When you are more active, your body is able to more effectively manage blood glucose and insulin levels to maintain a healthy balance.
Engaging in daily physical activity in combination with a low-fat diet has shown to reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as well as other chronic diseases(3).
Did you know that, in addition to helping us shed some pounds, being active helps us better control our eating?
It is no secret that there is an association between lack of physical activity and obesity. To maintain a healthy weight, it is important to maintain a balance between the calories taken in while eating and burned through activity.
When we are active, our bodies adapt to the growing need for energy which can lead to a boost in metabolism (the process of converting food to energy)(4). This boost, in combination with mindful eating habits, may make it easier for us to lose weight more quickly.
Did you know that being active increases connectivity in our brains, keeps us sharp, and prevents Alzheimer's disease?
Although there is still much to learn, a significant association has been shown to exist between being physically active and a reduction of the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that people who are more physically active are more likely to remain mentally fit as they age.
Physical activity provides both short and long-term effects on the brain. By increasing blood flow and promoting the growth of new connections in the brain, physical activity improves brain functions like memory and thinking while also improving mood and concentration(5).
Did you know that being active reduces depression, anxiety, and stress, and helps us stay happier?
In addition to the many physical benefits physical activity provides, it is also essential to mental health. It has been shown that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. This can be attributed to a release of chemicals from the brain during activity that help manage the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression while improving mood and sleep(5).
Did you know that being active is the best way to stay strong and avoid back pain?
Physical activity becomes increasingly important as we age in order to maintain strength and prevent injuries. Prolonged sitting can have negative effects on posture and muscle retention, leading to chronic back pain.
The best way to maintain strength is to regularly engage in activities that require movement of the entire body. Try to engage in activities that utilize the different components of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility(6).
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Heart Disease Facts.
2. US Dept of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition.
3. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Risk & Prevention.
4. American Heart Association. (2016). What's the Link Between Physical Activity and Health?
5. American Psychological Association. (2020). Working Out Boosts Brain Health.
6. National Institutes of Health. (2021). Four Types of Exercise Can Improve Your Health and Physical Ability.
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