Any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure is physical activity. Physical activity improves health, whether it is moderate or intensive. Regular physical activity helps to prevent diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, several cancers, and high blood pressure.
The benefits of physical activity include maintaining a healthy body weight, and improving mental health, well-being, and quality of life.
Physical activity is helpful for normal growth and development of the body, it reduces the chances of several chronic diseases and helps us perform our chores properly all day long and have better sleep at night. Even a short spell of physical activity can improve our health and well-being. Physical activities include sports, cycling, walking, wheeling, and playing. It can be done any time, in any way, for enjoyment by everyone.
Benefits of physical activity
Regular physical activity can give the following benefits:
- Improve muscle and bone functional health
- Improve cardiorespiratory fitness
- Reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, depression, and breast and colon cancer
- Reduce the risk of falls, hip or vertebral fractures
- Contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases
- Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills
- Ensures proper growth and development
- Improves overall well-being
About 25% of adults don’t meet the required levels of physical activity worldwide. Globally, increasing physical activity can eliminate five million deaths annually. Insufficiently active people have an increased risk of getting a disease as compared to those who are active. More than eighty percent of adolescents are not physically active enough.
Humans are not programmed to be inactive. Millions of deaths occur merely due to a lack of regular physical activity yearly. Physical inactivity is the main cause of most chronic diseases. An inactive lifestyle enhances the chances of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and increases the risk of high blood pressure, colon cancer, lipid disorders, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, and death.
According to the World Health Organization, sixty to eighty-five percent of adults from developed and undeveloped countries lead a leisure lifestyle, making it more challenging to live a healthy life.
Effects of physical inactivity
Physical inactivity, excessive use of tobacco, and insufficient nutrition is part of the lifestyle that leads to the rapid rise of serious diseases. The body:
- Burns fewer calories increasing the risk of being overweight
- Loses endurance and muscle strength
- Staying inactive, the bones may weaken and lose mineral content
- The metabolism may be affected with more trouble breaking down fats and sugars
- The immune system stops working properly
- Poor blood circulation and may develop a hormonal imbalance.
Health risks of an inactive lifestyle
There are significant risks for those that live an inactive life.
Heart disease is caused by too little physical activity, even for those with no other risk factors. It increases the chances of other heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
The risk of many cancers can be reduced by performing the recommended level of physical activity. These include cancers of the breast, colon, uterus, bladder, lung, lung, stomach, and kidney. The risks are equal for all of those who are physically inactive, despite theirt weight
Type 2 diabetes
A lack of enough physical activity raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity can control weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. In people with diabetes, an adequate amount of physical activity reduces the long-term risks of nerve damage and heart disease.
Public health officials should take adequate measures to provide people with more opportunities to live an active life. This can be done collectively at local and national levels to enable, promote, and encourage physical activity.
Make policies to promote physical activity to ensure that:
- Non-motorized transport like cycling or walking is available for everybody
- Labor and workplace policies encourage workers to remain physically active during work
- Schools, childcare, and higher education institutions offer safe and supportive places and resourcess to support students in schools, childcare, and higher education to be more active in their free time.
- Adequate physical education in educational institutions to create sportsmanship and develop behaviors that empower lifelong physical activity.
- School sport and community-based programs provide proper opportunities for people of all ages.
- Community engagement in recreational activities, including sports, exercise, dance, and active recreation.
- Healthcare staff encourages and supports patients to remain active.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Inactivity. Updated September 8, 2022. Accessed December 21, 2022.
- World Health Organization. Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability Warns WHO. Updated April 4, 2022. Accessed December 21, 2022.
- MedlinePlus. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle. Updated June 27, 2017. Accessed December 21, 2022.