Why is physical activity important?
Studies show that people who stay physically active enjoy a higher quality of life overall than those with sedentary lifestyles and reap numerous benefits that include:
- Stronger ability to stave off illnesses such as diabetes
- Quicker recovery from illnesses, injuries, and surgeries—and a more positive outlook during recovery
- Reduced risk of many cancers, including breast and colon cancer
- Improved overall cardiovascular health due to increased strength and resiliency in the heart muscle, arteries, and blood vessels
- Higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (“good cholesterol”)
- More efficient metabolism
- Decreased depression, anxiety, and stress
- Improved mental ability. Studies suggest that people who start exercising in their 60s can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in their 70s; the risk drops even further if they start exercising in their 40s or 50s
- Improved confidence and a feeling of independence
Despite all these positives, only 3 in 10 American adults get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.