How many of you are aware about the difference between exercise and physical activity? Well, physical activity refers to any body movement that burns calories, whether for work, daily chores or commute. And you are all responsible for your activity levels. Exercise, on the other hand, is a sub-category of physical activity aimed at improving your physical fitness and health; whether they are planned, structured or repetitive activities like going to the gym or doing your yoga.
Physical activity is just as beneficial for your health. For instance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator; walking to work instead of taking the bus; doing more gardening and housework and walking to the shop instead of taking the car. Everybody is not motivated to push themselves to go to the gym. You may think you are not exercising, but choosing to walk instead of taking the public transport is beneficial for you.
Did you know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had listed physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality? It comes after smoking, high blood fats and high blood pressure.
How does physical activity help?
Exercise is literally the miracle cure we’ve all been waiting for. It is beneficial for your physical, emotional and mental health. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. Exercise comes for free and you don’t need a doctor to prescribe it to you.
What are the physical health benefits?
Helps control weight
It helps you to not only burn more calories but also helps your mental attitude towards weight. When you exercise and feel good, your feel good hormones work efficiently and you are less likely to eat junk.
Suggestive Reading: Does Exercise Really Help with Weight Loss?
The more active you are; the more muscle you will build. Your muscle actually burns more calories, thus boosting your metabolism.
Improves energy levels
Did you know exercise can actually help you to feel more energetic? A recent research shows that exercise has a direct immediate effect on your energy levels. Regular physical activity can help improve your muscle strength and deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissue.
Strengthens body and improves posture
Exercise can strengthen your body and improve your posture. You will not only feel better but also look good.
What are the health benefits?
We often neglect to take our recommended dose of exercise. What’s the consequence? It affects our health to a great extent. Let’s take a look at how it can help:
Improves cholesterol levels
It increases your good cholesterol and reduces your bad cholesterol.
Decreases risk of cardiovascular disease
If you exercise regularly, your heart will pump blood all around your body; thus helping your heart health. It will also keep blood to flow smoothly.
Here are some more benefits of how exercise can benefit our health. It reduces the risk of diseases like:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Certain cancers
Suggestive Reading: 13 Exercises That Everyone Should Have in Their Program
What are the mental health benefits?
Whenever we are anxious or feel insecure or sad, food is the most abused anxiety drug. People use food to help ease their anxieties, insecurities and feelings of sadness. We often overlook the fact that exercise can relieve stress and help pump up the production of our brain’s feel good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. This can help us feel good and forget the day’s stress. Therefore, exercise is the most underused anti-depressant.
Do you need an emotional lift? Or do you need to blow up some steam after a stressful day? Work out at the gym or get a brisk 30-minutes’ walk, it can really help. Physical activity helps stimulate various brain chemicals. They may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
Treats mild depression
How many of you turn to alcohol when you are depressed or feeling low? Did you know that alcohol can cause depression? So, the best medicine for you would be exercise, as it can improve symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body. A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that walking for at least 35 minutes a day, five times a week, has a significant influence on mild to moderate depression. So, put on your walking shoes and get walking.
Exercise can also improve your self-esteem and confidence. It also decreases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Remember, what you do now will dictate your life in the future. So, if you are hard pressed for time to hit the gym or to do your exercise regularly, take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk to work instead of taking the bus; walk to the grocery store rather than driving down. Including these physical activities in your everyday life will help your physical as well as your mental health.
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