The Science of Exercise: Benefits of Physical Activity

Posted June 25, 2018 | By csponline

Miscellanious exercise equipment and assessories

About one in six U.S. adults and children are obese, and by 2030, half of all adults in the United States will be obese, according to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition (PCSFN). The science of weight loss reveals that exercise, along with nutrition and sleep, is vital for losing weight and overall well-being.

However, Americans are not getting enough exercise.

  • More than 80 percent of adults don’t meet the guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
  • More than 80 percent of adolescents don’t get enough aerobic physical activity to meet youth guidelines.
  • Less than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical exercise each day.
  • Only one in three children are physically active every day, but average 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen (such as a TV or computer screen).

There are many benefits of physical activity. By applying some fun, social activities into one’s daily life, people can apply the science of exercise into their lives, reaping the rewards of a healthier lifestyle.

Health-Related Benefits in the Science of Exercise

Physical activity is one of the most important things that people can do for their health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Findings from research studies provide more detail on the benefits of physical activity:

  • Helps Control Weight: For weight management, people vary in how much physical exercise they need. A good standard for many people is about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. More is needed to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Meeting the 150-minute standard of activity reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the United States. Exercise can also reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces the Risk of Type-2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: The risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome is reduced with physical activity.

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  • Reduces the Risk of Some Cancers: Research shows that physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer, and in women, breast cancer. Some research indicates the same for endometrial and lung cancer.
  • Strengthens Bones and Muscles: Exercise can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. It also helps with arthritis.
  • Improves Mental Health and Mood: Physical activity keeps thinking, learning and judgment skills sharp as people age. It also reduces the risk of depression and helps improve sleep quality.
  • Improves Ability to Perform Daily Activities and Prevent Falls: Physical activity helps people, especially middle-aged and older adults, do everyday tasks like climbing stairs, grocery shopping or playing with children.
  • Increases Chances of Living Longer: Exercise and physical activity reduces the risk of dying at a young age from the leading causes of death. It doesn’t require high amount of activity or exercise.

Exercise Guidelines

The PCSFN recommends that children and adolescents get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. They should have vigorous-intensity physical activity at least three days a week and they should include muscle- and bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week, of at least 10 minutes at a time. Strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, should be performed at least two days a week.

Here are the three types of exercise:

  • Aerobic: Moderate exercise includes biking slowly, brisk walking, water aerobics and ballroom dancing. Vigorous activities include running, swimming laps, basketball and jumping rope.
  • Muscle-Strengthening: Activities include lifting weights, push-ups, sit-ups and working with resistance bands.
  • Bone-Strengthening: Activities include tennis, running, jumping rope and basketball.

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Also published on Medium.