Physical activity can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can improve your quality of life. As little as 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.
What are the Benefits of Regular Physical Activity?
If you are regularly physically active, you may:
- Reduce your risk of a heart attack;
- Manage your weight better;
- Have a lower blood cholesterol level;
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers;
- Have a lower blood pressure;
- Have stronger bones, muscles, and joints, and lower the risk of osteoporosis;
- Lower your risk of falls;
- Recover better from a period of hospitalisation or bed rest; and/or
- Feel better overall – more energy, a better mood; feel more relaxed, and quality sleep.
A Healthier State of Mind
Some studies have found that exercise helps depression. There are many views as to how exercise helps people with depression. Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract people from daily worries. Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact. Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve sleep patterns. Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins, and stress hormones.
Aim for at Least 30 Minutes a Day
To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
Guidelines to Physical Activity
It is recommended that:
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none.
- If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or equivalent combination of both moderate- and vigorous-intensity activities, each week.
- Do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
Ways to Increase Activity
Increases in daily activity can came from small changes made throughout your day, such as
- Walking or cycling instead of using the car;
- Getting off a tram/train or bus stop earlier and walking the rest of the way; and/or
- Walking the children to school.