Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Everyone can enjoy its health benefits. And that's true regardless of your age, ability, current shape, weight, or height.
If you're not sure if you want to start exercising because you're worried about injury, the good news is that moderate-intensity physical activity is safe for most people. The beneficial effects of physical activity such as brisk walking or hiking are widely recognized.
You can even start with reduce your sedentary time by going to your place of work on foot. Unless you have to walk 50 km round trip 😅. In addition, there are other modes of transportation today that generate active travel such as electric bikes or scooters.
NOTE : if you have a medical history, it is important to consult your doctor so as not to take any risks.
This article introduces you to the benefits of physical activity to improve your mental health, lose weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen your bones and muscles. By reducing sedentary time throughout the week, you will quickly find that your ability to perform daily tasks improves.
Table of Contents
Immediate benefits of physical activity
The World Health Organization defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. This expression refers to all movements, including during leisure, to move to and from places, or in the course of work. Whether it is moderate or vigorous intensity endurance activity, it improves health.
Some brain health benefits of physical activity occur just after a few minutes of moderate to vigorous endurance activity. Benefits include improved thinking or cognition for children ages 6-13 and reduced short-term anxiety for adults.
Regular physical activity can help you maintain your mental faculties as you age. It may also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and promotes good quality sleep.
Ideal weight management
You are looking to achieve or maintain your fitness weight ?
Diet and physical activity both play a vital role in maintaining a healthy body weight and losing excess fat. You gain weight when you consume more calories than you burn throughout the day. It is important to balance intake and expenditure to maintain weight, or create a calorie deficit to lose fat.
When it comes to weight management, every individual is different with regards to the amount of exercise they need. Unfortunately, perfect equality does not exist in this area either… People must therefore create the framework of their weekly fitness program that suits them and adapt their diet.
We are still going to try to come up with some guidelines as to the amount of physical activity needed.
Basic rules for maintaining your ideal weight or losing weight
To maintain your weight, start by establishing a schedule of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (eg, 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week). If you prefer high-intensity strength exercises, do at least 75 minutes a week.
Strong scientific evidence shows that engaging in endurance or resistance activity can help you maintain your weight over time. However, the exact amount of physical activity required is not completely identical from person to person.
To lose weight, the challenge is greater. You will need to adjust your diet to be sure to create a calorie deficit. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight therefore requires both regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
Off-season physical preparation
Sometimes sports fans forget to keep in shape when the weather is bad. And that's often how accidents or injuries occur during recovery. Even in the comfort of your apartment or in your garden, it is possible to keep in shape and make a physical preparation for football, tennis, horse riding, handball, basketball, etc.
Strength training and HIIT often keep you ready for the recovery. They also help keep your weight in shape. This is also one of the techniques used by Cristiano Ronaldo during the offseason.
A note for amateur sportsmen
Members generally know that they pay insurance as part of their club practice. But do you know if you are covered outside? As I am a former insurance agent, this is a topic that seems important to me…
It is important to be covered in the event of an accident during your sports activity. In general, there is nothing special to pay in the event of damage to other people if you have home insurance. On the other hand, you often have no personal coverage in the event of an accident.
This is a point to check. For more information, go for example to the MAAF website and type “sports insurance” in the search tool (small magnifying glass). You will learn the differences between coverage for amateur and club sports. If it can help you...
Reduce your health risk
According to WHO recommendations, adults should:
- Dedicate at least 150 to 300 minutes per week moderate-intensity endurance activity;
- practice at least 75 to 150 minutes vigorous-intensity endurance activity or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activities throughout the week
According to this report, the reason for this is that a sedentary lifestyle represents one of the main risk factors for mortality linked to non-communicable diseases.
Here are some diseases that have been clearly linked to a lack of regular physical activity:
Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death. Following global WHO recommendations can reduce the risk of contracting these diseases. You can further reduce this risk by exercising more. Regular sports activities can also lower your blood pressure and improve your LDL cholesterol levels.
Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. People start to feel the benefits at activity levels below the recommended 150 minutes per week.
And if you already have type 2 diabetes, is it worth taking up exercise?
Yes, because regular physical activity can help you control your blood sugar. This is also a recommendation of the French Federation of Diabetics. You will probably need to seek medical advice to resume in good conditions, but it is worth getting started.
Being physically active reduces your risk of developing several common cancers. Research shows that adults who are physically active have a reduced risk of developing these types of cancers:
- Colon (proximal and distal)
Post cancer benefits
If you've had cancer, research indicates that regular physical activity not only leads to a better quality of life, but also improves your physical fitness.
Strengthen your bones and muscles
As you age, it is important to protect your bones, joints and muscles. They support your body and promote your mobility. Keeping bones, joints and muscles healthy will help you in your daily activities. Participating in moderately intense aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening physical activity can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.
Hip fracture is a serious health problem for an elderly person. However, active people have a lower risk of fracture of the hip than a person who lacks physical exercise.
In the elderly, physical activity also reduces the risk of falling and injury which result. The different types of programs recommended include aerobics, bodybuilding and functional balance exercises. These activities can help promote bone growth and condition.
Regular physical activity that works the major muscle groups helps fight arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affecting the joints. Doing 150 minutes a week of aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity improves your ability to manage pain and perform daily tasks. All of this improves your quality of life, including during periods of confinement.
Strengthening your muscular system is key to increasing or maintaining muscle mass and strength. This is important for older people whose muscle mass and strength decline with aging in a phenomenon called sarcopenia.
Conclusion – Live better through physical activity
Science shows that physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and certain diseases.
This is remarkable when you consider these 3 factors:
- Few lifestyle choices have such a significant impact on health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 150 minutes per week have a reduced mortality risk of 33%.
- You don't necessarily need to spend a lot of time on it. Devoting 15 to 30 minutes a day to it 5 times a week can already have a considerable effect, whether the activity is moderate or vigorous.
- Your quality of life is greatly improved on a daily basis.
So what are you waiting for?