SANA SHAIKH
By Sana Shaikh

BHMS and Yoga Trainer

26 October 2021
Medically reviewed by
Dhanashree Padhye
MA (Psychology)
What are the Links Between a Healthy Lifestyle and Physical Activity?
Table of Contents

Everyone should be physically active on a regular basis to improve their general health and fitness and to avoid a variety of negative health effects. Physical activity benefits those who are generally healthy, persons who are at risk of acquiring chronic diseases, and people who have chronic ailments or disabilities.

Many health disorders are influenced by physical exercise, and the amounts and types of activity that are beneficial to each disease differ. According to a study, once the health benefits of physical activity start to accumulate, increasing the amount of exercise provides even more benefits.

Effects of Lack of Exercise on Health

Heart Disease - Even if you do not have any other risk factors, not getting enough physical activity can contribute to heart disease. It can also increase the risk of other heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes - A person's chance of having type 2 diabetes can be increased if they do not engage in adequate physical activity. Physical activity aids in the regulation of blood sugar (glucose), weight, and blood pressure, as well as the elevation of "good" cholesterol and the reduction of "bad" cholesterol. Adequate physical activity can also assist persons with diabetes to avoid heart disease and nerve damage, which are common difficulties.

Cancer - According to the National Cancer Institute, while no research has established that a lack of exercise causes cancer, many self-reported observational studies have presented evidence correlating higher physical activity to a decreased cancer risk. In a 2016 assessment of 126 studies, researchers discovered that persons who engaged in the most physical activity had a 19% lower risk of colon cancer than those who were the least physically active.

Memory problems - Neuroplasticity, or the brain's ability to make new neural connections and adapt throughout life, is thought to be enhanced by exercise, according to scientists. The hippocampus, which governs memory and executive processes, has been shown to be one of the sites of such expansion in studies.

Sleep problems - Poor sleep caused by a lack of physical activity can be life-threatening because it can lead to a slew of health issues, ranging from weight gain and diabetes to heart disease, poor immunity, and mood disorders if it occurs on a regular basis. Insomnia is also linked to a lack of physical activity. 

Physical Activities for the Heart and Other Muscles

"Aerobic" exercises are those that entail steady, rhythmic movement of the legs and arms and are especially beneficial to the heart. Brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and dancing are just a few examples. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart's ability to pump blood throughout the body.

Adults with chronic illnesses or impairments should engage in physical activity on a regular basis, based on their ability, and avoid inactivity. Each week, work up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Activity should ideally be spread out over the course of the week. Even more, benefits can be obtained with up to 300 minutes of moderator time.

Activity should ideally be spread out over the course of the week. Up to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week can provide even more benefits.

Muscles are kept in good working order by stretching and strengthening exercises. At least twice a week, including weight training in your workout.

As you become older, your muscles lose strength and flexibility. Common chores, such as bending over to tie shoes, opening a jar, lifting a bag of groceries, or even getting out of a chair, become increasingly difficult. You're more prone to lose your balance and fall if your muscles aren't in good shape. Strengthening exercises can also enhance your metabolism, allowing you to get more out of your aerobic activities and lose weight more quickly.(according to Corbin, C.B., Pangrazi, R.P. and Franks, B.D., 2000.)

How to get started ?

If you've been inactive for a long time, you may need to ease into it. You can gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. The more you are able to accomplish, the better. However, try not to get overwhelmed and do your best. It is always preferable to get some exercise over none. Eventually, your objective may be to get the quantity of activity that is recommended for your age and health. There are numerous levels in which physical activity benefits your health; it's crucial to figure out which ones are best for you. You might also try to incorporate more movement into your life in little ways, such as at work or at home.

Increased physical activity levels are a global public health concern because physical inactivity is a significant and growing cost on health, mental well-being, and economy. The degree of physical activity and the reduction in major non-communicable disease risk have a dose-response relationship: the more physically active you are, the better the health advantages. Over and above these baseline requirements, further health benefits can be expected. Despite the fact that the majority of people believe the guidelines are doable, the majority of people do not follow them. There is no tomorrow to start these physical activities, do it today in order to achieve a healthy life. (according to Dietz, W.H., Douglas, C.E. and Brownson, R.C., 2016.)

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